Arab student groups at Tel Aviv University planned to hold a rally on campus "in memory of the martyrs and against the occupation" at 11:45 a.m. on Thursday - until a counter-rally led them to reschedule for Sunday.
Former MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari called on Facebook for a strong attendance at the counter-rally to "tell the enemy we've come home for good." The protest was largely organized by the Im Tirtzu student group; roughly 200 students and activists demonstrated at the entrance to the campus, with some bearing prayer shawls featuring red stains to symbolize the attack on the Jerusalem synagogue this Tuesday.
Dr. Ronen Shoval, founder of the Im Tirtzu movement that organized the counter-protest, said "the Arab incitement on campus continues unabated. Arabs students rioting on campus should not come as a surprise."
"Israel has a serious crisis of sovereignty and should revoke the citizenship of anyone who is not acting as a citizen," Shoval argued. "The university administration should stop the incitement and the Council for Higher Education should issue unambiguous guidelines concerning this matter. Any delay in dealing with incitement may allow verbal violence to become physical violence."
Suicide terrorists or "Palestinian resistance fighters"?
Jabar Bassel, a member of the Arab communist Hadash student group and one of the organizers of the rescheduled event, told Walla! about the decision to demonstrate for the "martyrs," noting the event was already postponed from earlier this week after the Tuesday attack; it was to include the attendance of several Jewish groups.
The event was to focus on two "martyrs," one an Arab rioter in Kafr Kanna who was shot by police as he tried to stab them with a knife, and an Arab Egged bus driver who was found hung in his bus, and who was proven through autopsy tests to have committed suicide.
"We don't see martyrs as terrorists," Bassel told the Hebrew-language site. "Suicide terrorists are those who were killed due to the continuing conflict, they are Palestinian resistance fighters."
The event was rescheduled for Sunday out of "fears for the safety of Arab students," and the counter-protest on Thursday featured a large police presence.
"According to Israeli semantics it's as if we're coming out against the state," acknowledged Bassel. He tried to justify terrorist attacks, saying "they may have thrown rocks but they fought in their territory, in the territory of the future state on '67 borders - they are fighting for their freedom."
Despite the attempt to justify terrorism, it is worth noting Arab terrorists have of course not been limiting their attacks to over the 1949 Armistice line which was never intended as a border - just last Monday an IDF soldier was murdered by an Arab terrorist in Tel Aviv.