70 legal students from colleges and universities across the country gathered on October 11th for three days at Adalah’s 7th Annual Law Students’ Conference, to learn about Palestinian rights in Israel with a focus on “Students’ Rights on Campus.” Read the Conference Program
The conference opened with a field tour of the village Jisr al-Zarqa, a coastal town in the Haifa District, one of the poorest Palestinian towns in Israel. The students visited a number of locations in the village, including the barrier constructed between Jisr al-Zarqa and Caesarea, where they learned about the village’s high unemployment and the loss of the village’s land to neighboring Jewish towns. The students saw firsthand the Fishermen’s Village on the shore of Jisr al-Zarqa, and the hardships that result from the state’s refusal to build tide breakers at the port and to issue permits for modern buildings to support the local fishing industry that are standard in other port towns in Israel. The tour continued with a visit to destroyed villages in the Carmel Mountains - Jaba’, Ein Ghazal, and Ijzam – where the students learned about the process of displacement in 1948 and its consequences for the local Palestinian community.
In addition to the tour, the conference, held the Eden Inn in Zamarin (Zichron Yaakov), incorporated lectures and seminars presented by leading human rights lawyers and academics including Anat Matar, Philosophy Lecturer at Tel Aviv University, Dr. Yousef Jabareen, Director of Dirasat – The Arab Center for Law and Policies, and ‘Ataf Ma’adi, Secretary of the Follow-Up Committee on Education. The full list of speakers is in the Conference Program.
Over a dozen associations and non-profit organizations took part in a “Human Rights Fair,” presenting their human rights work to the students and discussing the challenges and opportunities they face, and distributed materials related to their activities.
Panels included “Israeli Academia: Between Censorship and Freedom of Expression,” which explored academic freedom to choose and pursure research topics, and “Is Higher Education Truly Available for Palestinians in Israel?” where panelists explained the inadequate Arab school system, and the resulting lesser status of Palestinians in higher education in Israel. Another panel directly addressed “The Basic Right to Organize and Protest in the University,” and how that right is being limited for Palestinian students.
On the final day of the conference students chose an in-depth workshop on either “The Limits of the Judicial Struggle,” “Personal Status Law Between The Civil and Shari’a Courts,” or “The Limit of Freedom of Expression?” to strengthen their understandings of legal issues as Palestinian citizens in the country.
Some responses from the conference:
Rabi’a Ighbariyya| Tel Aviv University
The workshops and seminars at the conference were especially valuable as they widened my horizons and perspective. The conference was a great place for Arab law students to discuss issues that are not raised at Israeli universities.
Anji ‘Amari| Karmel College
Participating in the conference helped to shape me as a politically active student, since most students are not politically aware. The conference also helped me to develop my identity, and exposed me to new opportunities and possibilities for legal action. One of the most important parts of the conference was the discussion of social issues, not only the politics and laws that determine our relationship with the state, but also issues like “honor killings”, the Islamic courts, and many other subjects that we don’t usually get to talk about.
Samu Younis| Tel Aviv University
The camp’s special value lies, in my opinion, in the fact that there are limited opportunities for law students from the various colleges and universities to get to know each other before they settle into their places of work positions, and the camp connects them to each other. This year the camp this year tackled questions that are important to Arab students, and allowed students to interact and come together.
Riham Nasra| Hebrew University of Jerusalem
This is the first time that I have participated in Adalah’s Law Students’ Conference. I had expected that the lectures and workshops at the conference would have addressed a greater variety of legal and cultural topics. However, I look forward to participating in the conference in the coming years and seeing how the lectures and workshops shed light on issues that are not dealt with by Israeli universities.