A PALESTINIAN visited Hastings last Wednesday (February 5) to talk about his first-hand experience of the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
Tarek Ahram, 23, met with local peace campaigners from Hastings for Palestine at the White Rock Hotel.
The law graduate, who lives in Jerusalem, studied at Al-Quds University, which is located in Abu Dis, a suburb that is separated from the city due to the building of the Israeli West Bank barrier in 2004.
He said: “Al-Quds is the only Arabic university in Jerusalem and the government sends in the army almost on a daily basis to harass the students and interrupt their education.
“Recently a lot of students were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets.”
The most recent incident was last November when clashes broke out after Israeli forces raided Abu Dis while students from Al-Quds University were on their way to class, according to Arabic news agency Ma’an. Israeli forces fired tear gas grenades and sound bombs while Palestinians threw stones and burned tyres.
Mr Ahram said: “There are around 14,000 students studying at Al-Quds and all of them have been threatened. There were a lot of attacks and strikes against us when we sat in lectures.”
The graduate, who has three brothers and two sisters, studied at Al-Qus for four years. While studying, he worked with Jerusalem Student Union and took part in many activities with some of human rights centres such as SHAMS, an independent, non-governmental organisation set up in 2003 in Palestine by academics, teachers, and human rights activists. He has also worked with CADFA (Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association) as a volunteer.
Gill Knight, from Hastings for Palestine, said: “We are a new branch group of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and are deeply concerned about the violation of human rights for Palestinians, the ongoing 47-year-old occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and the lack of any progress in the peace talks.”