Palestinian students fear for their lives during attack on train car in Jerusalem

18:00 Nov 17 2014 near Jerusalem Central Bus Station

Photo: Ahmed Ghazzawi

by Annie Robbins on November 23, 2014, for Mondoweiss

We picked up this frightening report from Ya Aini (Arabic), a local news website covering Palestine/Israel. Last Tuesday evening, November 17, Ahmed Ghazzawi, a medical student at Hebrew University from Acre, was trying to get back to his student dorms when the light rail he was riding on was attacked in West Jerusalem by a mob of “hundreds” of religious Jewish settlers (Kahanists) chanting “Kill them, they’re Arabs”. The Kahanists had assembled for a rally near a rail stop. Ghazzawi was accompanying 5 female students (3 wearing hijabs) when the attack took place.

In Ya Aini ‘s report “We escaped certain death in Jerusalem“, Ghazzawi issued an alarming warning. The following quotes of Ghazzawi’s from the article have been translated from Arabic:

“I swear it’s not from fear, but I want to tell the story through your website as a message to all the Arab students at the Hebrew University to take care, because the situation is really serious. We finished our studies yesterday at a late hour, and we went out [Hebrew University is on the east side of Jerusalem though not in occupied territory], I and 5 female students from the university, waiting for the arrival of the Egged bus to take us to the student dormitories. After about an hour it still hadn’t come, so we had to travel on the light rail.”

“On the way, as we were approaching the Central Station [in West Jerusalem], we passed close to a demonstration by groups of religious settlers, it was really big, there were hundreds of them. Then they started to point with their fingers towards our train and attacked it, and started to kick the train and throw stones and tried to open the doors to get to us, and some of them yelled, “Kill them, they’re Muslim Arabs”. We were the only Arabs there.”

“But they did not succeed in getting into the train and they kept throwing many objects towards us, and our car [rail car] was surrounded by settlers, and the Arab girls started to cry from fear at this terrifying situation. Then suddenly some Jewish religious settlers who were inside the train started to help those who were outside to open the doors, but they could not do it either. At that point the train was able to start moving again and we got to the student dormitories safely.”

“It was a feeling that I cannot describe no matter how much I try to explain to you, the bitter end would have been at hand if not for God and His Mercy..When I looked at the girls whom I swore to God I would sacrifice my life to protect them, maybe this is a feeling that Mahmoud Abbas or Ayman Audeh or … will not have. This is the situation we residents of Jerusalem live every day. Even worse than that, many have been killed in this way. This experience will stay with me for the rest of my life. So please beware, my dear friends.

Ali Abunimah reported a “Hate Rally” of Kahanist Jews that took place earlier in the same day on November 17, outside the court proceedings of a border police officer who was arrested on suspicion of carrying out the killing of Nadim Nuwara on Nakba Day.

Electronic Intifada:

In this video, originally posted in the Facebook group, Israelis can be seen listening to a speech in support of the “magavnik” and shouting sectarian and racist slogans including “medinat yehudim” – meaning a “state for the Jews only.”

The speaker asks that “all the Arabs of Israel die to atone for him [the magavnik].” Many in the crowd answer “Amen.”

There’s no certainty the mob that attacked Ghazzawi and fellow students was an extension of this “hate rally” earlier in the day. But this is the climate in Jerusalem right now, and Ghazzawi’s warning echos “please beware, my dear friends”.

(Hat tip Ofer Neiman)
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