Gaza students thank pro-Palestinian demonstrators on American college campuses


Rafah
CNN

Dozens of Palestinian students and children staged a show of solidarity at a demonstration in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday to express their gratitude for the support seen on… American university campuses In recent weeks.

A video clip from the Shaboura refugee camp in Rafah shows children holding signs that read: “Columbia University students, continue to stand with us,” and “Violating our right to education and life is a war crime.”

Students gathered around makeshift tents near a school that now serves as a shelter for Palestinians displaced from northern Gaza. The footage shows people drawing messages of gratitude on tent fabric. “Thank you to the students in solidarity with Gaza. “Your message reached (us),” one message reads.

Takfir Abu Youssef, a displaced student from Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, told CNN from the camp that he felt it necessary to thank the students in the United States who “supported us with their humanity.”

“Those are letters of thanks for our tents, those tents that do not protect us from heat or cold. The least we can do is thank them. We cannot write these letters of thanks on the walls of our homes because we do not have homes. They were destroyed over our children, our elders, and our women.”

AFP/Getty Images

A man in Rafah, Gaza, writes a letter of thanks to students protesting in the United States on April 27, 2024.

Eighteen-year-old Rana Al-Taher pointed to the school in the camp and told CNN that what should have been a place for learning and teaching became a place of shelter.

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“This means we have lost our education. We have lost our only hope in Gaza and we want it back. We are here to demand it back. We have the right to get it back… and that is why we are here,” she said.

According to the United nationsThere have been “direct strikes” on more than 200 schools in Gaza since the start of the Israeli bombing. The United Nations Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said that “there has been no education at all in Gaza for nearly six months.”

at recent days a reportUN experts condemned the “systematic destruction” of Gaza’s education system.

“The ongoing cruel attacks on Gaza’s educational infrastructure are having a devastating long-term impact on people’s fundamental rights to learn and express themselves freely, depriving another generation of Palestinians of their future,” the experts said.

First-year university student Bayan Al-Faqi told CNN that she had not been able to attend her classes at her university in Cairo since the start of the war in Gaza, and she expressed her great appreciation for the students in the United States “for staging a solidarity protest.”

She added: “We hope that they will increase pressure on Israel and the United States to stop the bloodbath taking place in the Gaza Strip and prevent the invasion of Rafah.”

The fate of Rafah still depends on the 1.3 million Palestinians who were displaced there. There have been weeks of speculation about when Israel might begin its expected military operation in the city. The United Nations has repeatedly warned of an Israeli ground invasion, saying the attack “could lead to a massacre” in the southern region.

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Tariq Al-Helou/CNN

Palestinians at a demonstration in Rafah, Gaza, on April 28, 2024.

Nawar Diab, 21, told CNN that she regretted the impact the Israeli bombing of Gaza had on her academic pursuits.

“I was supposed to graduate this year,” she said. “I studied English and French literature at Al-Azhar University, but Al-Azhar University was bombed… This war stood as a border between me and my dreams and the beginning of my career.”

She added: “Today I stand here to tell the whole world that we, the students of Gaza, suffer from pain and suffer every day.”

Diab said that despite the brutality of the Israeli war, the resilience of the Gazan students and their determination to persevere was clear for the world to see.

Elsewhere in Gaza, dozens of Palestinian Christians celebrated Orthodox Palm Sunday by attending mass at St. Porphyrius Church, the oldest in Gaza City, and praying for peace.

Video clips show men, women, children and elderly singing prayers inside the church, demanding that peace prevail in Gaza. Children are shown wearing clothes, carrying flowers and candles, and playing in the church courtyard decorated with palm trees.

Khader Nasrawi, a Gaza City resident who attended the church celebrations, told CNN he hopes for a “better tomorrow.”

“We celebrate Eid this year with pain and wounds in our hearts for the loss of our loved ones and our homes throughout this brutal war… We ask the world to give us peace because we are a peace-loving people. . He added that Jesus Christ called for peace and love, as did all other religions.

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One resident, Ihab Ayyad, told CNN that he was injured in an Israeli air strike that hit the place Church campus In October of last year.

Ayyab said that despite what he has been through, he remains “united and steadfast” with his Palestinian community.

“This Eid is different for us, because of the tragedy of war that the Palestinian people suffered, whether Christian or Muslim. He said: “The occupation does not differentiate between Christians and Muslims. It is a criminal attack.”

Not far from the church, residents and witnesses told CNN that an Israeli airstrike on Sunday hit a four-story residential building in the Yarmouk neighborhood of Gaza City. They said that the Israeli army warned them before the raid, and there were no casualties.

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