Following Adalah appeal, Jerusalem teaching college cancels unjust disciplinary punishment against two Palestinian students

David Yellin College, under pressure from extreme-right wing Israeli activists, took disciplinary action against two students that lacked legal basis.

On 4 June 2019, a group of Palestinian students at David Yellin College of Education, a teachers’ college in Jerusalem, wrote “Ramadan Kareem” on a communal student chalkboard. This same chalkboard was being used for commemorative notes recognizing Israel’s day of Remembrance. Members of the right-wing group, "Im Tirtzu", filmed the incident and launched a campaign against the students, claiming that they had "desecrated the memory" of fallen Israeli soldiers.


In light of this campaign, the college’s Disciplinary Committee punished the students on the grounds of “inappropriate conduct.” Two of the Palestinian students, Reem Jouabra and Maram Abu Sneineh, who both hold permanent residency status in Israel, were banned from entering the college campus until August, and were ordered to complete a number of hours of community service and to apologize to the community and the college president. Further, Jouabra’s earned academic distinction was revoked, and Abu Sneineh’s second semester academic coursework and grades were nullified.


On 12 June 2019, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel filed an appeal on behalf of Jouabra and Abu Sneineh, demanding that the college's Disciplinary Committee rescind its ruling and cancel these punishments. Adalah Attorney Fady Khoury emphasized in the appeal that "the decision of the first Disciplinary Committee to impose unfair punishment on the two students was based on pressure exerted by the extreme right-wing on its members." Adalah noted that this pressure "forced them to make illegal decisions which have no legal basis."


Adalah added: "We argued before the Committee that there is no legal and constitutional authority to revoke the educational achievements of students who worked and studied hard to earn them. We further noted that writing 'Ramadan Kareem' on a chalkboard, the use of which is open to all students, is not a crime. Lastly, even if the committee were to deem these actions a breach of acceptable conduct, the imposed penalty nevertheless remains unjust and unreasonable".


Adalah stressed that "the actions did not amount to a violation" but rather constitute freedom of opinion and expression.


The Disciplinary Committee held a hearing on 3 July 2019 and delivered its decision on 16 July 2019.


During the hearing, Adalah General Director Attorney Hassan Jabareen successfully argued for the cancellation of most of the imposed penalties against the students.  More specifically, the committee decided to reinstate Jouabra's access to the college campus as well as her awarded academic distinction.  The committee also reinstated Abu Sneineh's earned course credits and grades.


CLICK HERE to read Adalah’s appeals on behalf of Reem Jouabra and Maram Abu Sneineh [Hebrew]


(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)


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