Tuesday, November 03, 2009
A planned visit to the University of Nottingham campus today by the Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Ron Prosor, has caused widespread dismay and consternation within the university community, notably among the Palestinian and Islamic student body.
The visit, during which the ambassador is due to deliver a lecture entitled “Israel’s Search For Peace” is due to take part at 6pm on Wednesday 4th November in the Great Hall of the Trent Building, on the University’s Main Campus.
The visit is set to be the focus of a massive demonstration by student protestors who are objecting to the University authorities’ apparent insensitivity and lack of judgment by inviting Mr Prosor less than 8 months after Israel’s internationally-condemned attack on the Gazan population in December 2008-January 2009. This attack left more than a thousand civilians dead and inflicted a huge human and material toll on the Gazan population.
The decision by the University authorities to invite Mr Prosor is even more surprising considering the campus was the stage of a substantial protest movement back in February. This protest was widely reported and involved the occupation of a lecture theatre by hundreds of students. The students were protesting against what many considered to be the tacit complicity of the University authorities in Israeli war crimes.
The occupation protest culminated in a large demonstration outside the Vice Chancellor’s office, under the banner of “Books Not Bombs”. Nottingham South MP Alan Simpson, who spoke at the protest, urged the University to stop dealing with arms manufacturers and to help supply educational materials and financial aids to Gaza’s students.
Many of those who took part in the protest action earlier this year have expressed their disappointment at what many deem to be a highly provocative decision by the University authorities. They feel that this seriously goes against promises that were made, in the wake of the student occupation, by senior management to seek better relations with the Palestinian and Islamic student body.
The protest being organised on Wednesday 4th November is aimed at raising awareness about Israeli war crimes as highlighted in the recent UN “Goldstone” report of October 2009. Some of the protestors have been seeking legal advice regarding the possibility of affecting a citizen’s arrest on the Ambassador were he to enter the campus.
Many student and human rights campaigners have urged the University to rescind the invitation and have vouched to use all peaceful and legal avenues available to them to ensure the lecture does not take place.
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