Students at the University of Haifa plan to rally against a ban on a pro-Palestinian lawmaker who was aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla when attacked by Israeli commandos in May.
Supporters of Arab Israeli lawmaker Hanin Zuabi are set to voice their protest against the university’s refusal to allow the Balad party MP to participate in a student political activity on campus, the Israeli daily, Ha’arez, reported.
Zuabi drew sharp criticism from Israeli parliamentarians after she was arrested during Israel’s Flotilla attack on May 31 which also killed nine Turkish activists onboard the civilian aid convoy which aimed to break the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip.
On Monday, the Arab lawmaker was scheduled to take part in the student activity focusing on the political situation over the past year.
In a letter to the university’s Dean of Students, Yoav Lavee, Zuabi said, "No one can prevent me from going to a university and standing together with my constituency."
"My participation in the event is part of my parliamentary activities, just as my participation in the freedom flotilla constituted a humanitarian, ethical, civic and political obligation of the first order and was part of my parliamentary activities," she wrote.
On October 24, a Balad campus group formally requested that the university permit Zuabi to partake in the activity, which was expected to involve between 150 and 200 students. However, the group did not receive a response till last Sunday.
Lavee told the group that Zuabi could not come, claiming that various groups on campus would use the event as an excuse for exhibiting violent behavior.
But Zuabi accused the University of Haifa of using the same tactics as Israel’s notorious intelligence agency to curb Arab political activity.
"The Shin Bet generally uses the argument of ‘disturbing the public order’ to limit the political and public activity of Arab citizens, and that’s what the university is doing, with the goal of limiting Arab student activity," she said.
Members of the Israeli parliament (Knesset) are entitled to go to any public place in Israel and expect "national security" considerations.