Middle East

Student waves Palestinian flag, refuses to shake US Sec of State’s hand during graduation

Palestinian student Nooran Alhamdan refused to shake hands with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, during her graduation ceremony from Georgetown University in Washington. Alhamdan, who studied at the Centre for Contemporary Arab Studies in Georgetown, raised the Palestinian flag, and refused to shake hands with Blinken while on stage, in protest over Washington’s position on Israel and the killing of Shireen Abu Aqleh by the Apartheid State.

Israel assassinated Abu Akleh while she was covering the occupation army’s storming of Jenin refugee camp. Abu Akleh was wearing a flak jacket clearly displaying the word “press” and had a helmet on, however a sniper bullet entered her head from her ear, killing her. Colleagues around her were also shot at when they tried to rescue her at the scene.

After initially denying that it was responsible for the killing, the Israeli military identified a soldier’s rifle that it said may have been used to kill Abu Akleh.

READ: Israel will not investigate killing of Palestinian journalist

“Myself & my classmates in Arab Studies honored the legacy of Shireen Abu Aqleh during Anthony Blinken’s commencement address” said Alhamdan in a tweet sharing a video from the graduation ceremony. “We demand an independent investigation & an end to American aid to Israel now. I relayed these demands to Blinken personally & refused to shake his hand.”

Alhamdan revealed that at the end of commencement Blinken came up to her personally and said “I hear you,” to which the graduate research fellow for the Middle East Institute said she “reiterated that an independent investigation and accountability for Israel were necessary. He [Blinken] walked away when I told him to cut all American aid to the Israeli military.”

Alhamdan shared photos of her peers carrying posters honouring Abu Aqleh and sent out a defiant tweet. “They have the tanks, we have the clocks,” said Alhamdan commenting on a motto taught to her by one of her professors at Georgetown. “I am proud to have refused your handshake and to have reminded you of our existence”.

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