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US senator meets with Palestinian students at Al-Quds University

Nov. 23, 2017 4:34 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 24, 2017 5:45 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- United States Senator Kamala Harris visited Al-Quds University in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem, where she sat down with a group of female students who shared their experiences of living in occupied Palestinian territory.

According to a press release from the university, after briefing the students on her background and career, Harris listened as the students took turns speaking about their experiences at the university.

Harris reportedly told the students that she had driven by Israel’s illegal separation wall on her way to to the university, and asked the students if the wall presented “a real barrier” to their movement.

“The classroom unanimously exclaimed ‘yes’, and expressed their anger about the restrictions imposed on them by the Israeli authorities,” the statement said.

The students also told Harris of the restrictions placed on them by Israel’s permit regime, preventing them from reaching their religious holy sites in Jerusalem.

One student who is a Palestinian citizen of Israel reportedly told Harris that she had a “difficulty in belonging.”

“Despite having access to Jerusalem and enjoying other rights that Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza are denied, the student said she still had trouble ‘fitting in.’ And because Israel was distorting the Palestinian identity on a daily basis, she felt like she was neither a citizen here nor there,” the statement said.

As the meeting closed, the senator asked the students about their plans after graduation, asking them if they wanted to leave Palestine.

“But the consensus amongst the students was that they would return to their homeland, Palestine, and help build it,” the statement said.

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