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Palestinian students demonstrate across West Bank to 'send message to the world'

May 30, 2017 9:00 P.M. (Updated: May 31, 2017 10:53 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian Ministry of Education launched a “Carnival of Freedom” on Tuesday across the occupied West Bank, when Palestinian students held national sit-ins to commemorate historical moments of Israel’s colonization and occupation of Palestine and to “send a message to the world.”

Thousands of students across the West Bank took part in the demonstrations, and held signs demanding an end to the Israeli occupation and the recognition of Palestinian human rights, while Palestinian cultural and heritage events were also held at the sit-ins.

Head of student activities at the ministry Sadeq al-Khadour said that the events, which were organized in cooperation with the Higher Council of Youth and Sports, were focused on commemorating the 100th year since the signing of the Balfour Declaration, the 69th anniversary of Nakba, the 50 year anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza (referred to as ‘Naksa’), and 30 years since the First Intifada.

Al-Khadour added that the sit-ins were also aimed at "sending a message to the world that it is time to end the occupation and for Palestine to gain its freedom,” adding that the demonstrations were also centered on pressuring the international community to uphold its responsibilities towards the Palestinians.

In Hebron, students and officials from various governmental and non-governmental departments participated in the activities, which were held at the al-Hussein school. Students raised Palestinian flags and repeated slogans demanding Palestinian independence and an end to the Israeli occupation.

Kamel Hmeid, the governor of Hebron, told Ma’an that “this is a popular, peaceful sit-in under the Palestinian flag calling for freedom,” and added that Palestinians would continue to fight for an independent state with occupied East Jerusalem as its capital.

Meanwhile, sit-ins were also organized by students in Salfit city in the central West Bank, with Salfit district governor Ibrahim al-Balawi and heads of governmental institutions also participating in the events.

More than 1,000 Palestinian students took part in the activities.

Student Diala Istayyeh told Ma’an that she participated in the carnival to send a message to children around the world that “we (Palestinians) also have the right to live like the rest of the children in the world, and to live in a free homeland with peace and security.”

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In the northern West Bank district of Nablus, some 26,000 students and teachers, alongside employees of the Nablus Directorate of Education in southern Nablus, took part in the events for the carnival.

Students carried Palestinian flags in the villages and towns in Nablus, and held signs commemorating the Nakba, Naksa, and the Balfour Declaration.

Students formed human chains starting from the gates of their schools to homes of Palestinian who have been killed by Israeli forces and homes of Palestinian political prisoners, while schools on the main roads held their events inside.

In the Nablus-area village of Beita, some 2,000 students participated in events, which included holding signs with the names of Palestinian villages destroyed during Israel’s establishment in 1948. 
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