Why are Italian Students Protesting Israeli Ambassador’s Visit to L’Aquila University?

Italian students hold a sit-in against Israeli ambassador's visit to L'Aquila University. (Photo: Supplied)

By Romana Rubeo

Italian students held a sit-in on Thursday to protest the decision by the University of L’Aquila to host the Israeli Ambassador to Italy, Dror Eydar. 

Eydar was invited to deliver a 30 minutes conference about the so-called Abraham Accords, titled “Diplomacy in the Middle East and the Abraham Accords paradigm shift”.

Students were urged to take part in the conference, which did not include a debate or a Q&A session.

The sit-in was organized by several groups, including political movement Potere al Popolo (Power to the People), UDU L’Aquila (Union of Students), Abruzzo Crocevia and Spazio Praxis.

“We were extremely disappointed when we learned that the University organized such an initiative,” Francesco Pezzuti, the representative of Potere al Popolo, said during the protest. “We believe that academic institutions should not invite official representatives of a state that has systematically oppressed the Palestinian people for decades.”

“We are also surprised by the double standards,” Pezzuti added. “While they show solidarity to the Ukrainian people, and rightly so, our institutions do not show the same kind of sensibility towards the various forms of popular resistance enacted by other oppressed people around the globe, such as in Palestine.”

“The same initiative has been promoted in other Italian regions, with the same exact keywords, trying to promote the so-called Abraham Accords as a new paradigm,” said Luca D’Innocenzo, representative of Abruzzo Crocevia. 

“We have to be aware that this is mere propaganda. Israel’s propaganda uses the Accords to hide ongoing policies of colonialism and apartheid in the Palestinian territories,” D’Innocenzo added.

“That’s what we should talk about inside an academic institution: of the apartheid policies that are systematically implemented against the Palestinian people.”

“We are not alone in this fight,” said Matteo Poletti, from UDU. “We fight along with other students that, across the globe, are boycotting similar initiatives aimed at normalizing relations with a country that despite the continued and reiterated violations of human rights, has never been held accountable by the international community.”

The students in L’Aquila received solidarity and support from the national group Giovani Palestinesi d’Italia (Young Palestinians of Italy), which shared posts on social media and sent a message that was read during the sit-in.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

- Romana Rubeo is an Italian writer and the managing editor of The Palestine Chronicle. Her articles appeared in many online newspapers and academic journals. She holds a Master’s Degree in Foreign Languages and Literature and specializes in audio-visual and journalism translation.
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