Palestinian students chase British diplomat out of university: “His country is the cause of our pain”

The Consul-General’s car (centre) as it hastily left the university.
Earlier this week, the British Consul-General in the Palestinian territories was due to deliver a speech at a West Bank university to discuss, among other issues, relations between Palestine and Great Britain. A group of Palestinian students called this a “provocation” and confronted the diplomat with hostile slogans, forcing him to make a hasty getaway.
According to a consular official, Sir Vincent Fean had been invited by officials from the University of Bir Zeit, a small town 25 kilometres north of Jerusalem, to speak to students on Tuesday about British foreign policy in the region and the possibility of peace with Israel.
Around a hundred students began demonstrating as soon as he arrived on campus. Shortly afterwards, the Consul’s car left amid jeers from protesters waving Palestinian flags. As it drove away, the protesters shouted and attacked the car, breaking a side mirror and holding portraits of Samer Issawi, a Palestinian prisoner currently on a hunger strike, against the car windows.
After the incident, the Consulate said Sir Fean wanted “to underline Britain’s deep commitment to the creation of a Palestinian state, and the urgency of progress on the peace process in 2013. Sadly, such a dialogue was not possible on this occasion… [but the Consul-General] hopes to have the opportunity to pursue this dialogue in future.”
When contacted by FRANCE 24, the university’s vice president, Dr. Bassam Al-Khatib, said he understood the students’ position, but regretted that they didn’t express their views during the debate instead.
The protesters chanted: “Leave Bir Zeit!”, and even “I am a refugee because of Balfour”, in reference to the 1917 Balfour Declaration in which Great Britain supported the establishment in Palestine of a “national home” for Jewish people.

“We believe Great Britain is responsible for everything that Palestinian people endure today”

Taha Al-Afghani is a representative of the Youth Student Movement, which has ties to Fatah.
The British Consul-General was supposed to give a conference at the University of Bir Zeit on political relations between Great Britain and Palestine. Our movement believes the theme of this conference was provocative because we consider that Britain has always opposed Palestinian interests. It was Great Britain that was in favour of the creation of a “Jewish home” in Palestine in 1917 [via the Balfour declaration]. They also occupied our territory until 1948 [the British mandate in Palestine lasted from 1920 to 1948]. Finally, Great Britain doesn’t support the creation of a Palestinian state either since it abstained from a vote on it at the United Nations [In November 2012, Palestine obtained “observer state” status following a vote. At the time, the United Kingdom opted to instead call on Palestinians and Israelis to reopen peace negotiations]. For us, this country is responsible for all the problems that the Palestinian people endure today.
At the beginning, we weren’t planning on chasing the Consul-General out, but only to protest peacefully. During the conference, we planned to stand up and hold up signs with slogans - written in English - that were hostile towards the United Kingdom. We also wanted to denounce the university’s administration for being unpatriotic for inviting the Consul-General.
“The fact that Great Britain helps the university financially doesn’t mean it can buy our silence”
But the university’s president came out and said that those who accuse the administration of lacking patriotism are themselves unpatriotic. [According to the university’s vice president, the president merely told the students that they were no more Palestinian than the university officials who invited the Consul-General]. We then decided to chase the Consul-General out of the university. [According to the university’s vice president, not all of the students agreed with the decision].
Great Britain helps our university financially, allowing students to receive scholarships for Masters and doctoral studies. But if they think they can buy our silence with these grants, they are wrong. What the Palestinians need today is not money, but a recognition of their state and their rights.


Reply to comment | The FRANCE 24 Observers

Truly when someone doesn't be aware of after that its up to other users that
they will help, so here it takes place.

Keep giving these Terrorists $$$-NOPE

All the geniuses who want to help the poor Palestinians either are completely blind or are an enemy to every Western Gov't. These Terrorists hate us and use Israel as an excuse. They don't want peace with anyone and prove it time and time again. At least they didn't fire a rocket at him.

Shows once again why the West must continue to back Israel 100%. No Israeli ever attacked us.

again and again. france 24

again and again. france 24 doesn't post specific comments. very biased.

a couple of days ago I posted some lines. still, still, no post. interesting.
let's wait if you post this now...well, honestly speaking, not very optimistic.

roughly 5 days ago my comment was:

very interesting!
the outrage with respect to some of the historical issues is understandable yet not acceptable. (the guy surely was neither mr. balfour, nor a decision-taker/maker at the UN, the parliament, etc.)

still, taking the money, receiving education in europe, etc. and overtly and silently despising the ones who finance you and educate you could easily be interpreted as "u-n-g-r-a-t-e-f-u-l"!.

but, in some ways, you might be right, some politicians think money can buy loyalty - which is obviously very naive.

eventually, having different opinions doesn't imply to chase people/guests/friends/foreigners (whoever) out of the university, the city or the place you live/study in.

if you do not want to be chased away by others, you shouldn't chase others...


I don't blame the Palestinians for being angry at the British. The British gave away land that was not theirs to begin with. 750,000 Palestinians have been displaced, 20,000 have been murdered since 1922 and over 300,000 tortured since 1948. DNA evidence has confirmed that the land was the Palestinian's and they were there first. Everytime the Palestinians fight back, they are referred to as "terrorists" by the Zionists who are WORSE than the Nazis.

Look what they just did to us on 9/11/2001. More then half of all Americans do NOT support Israel. That number continues to rise each and every year.

Rejection of the West

Left to their own devices countries like Pakistan would soon beg for the return of Western guidance and assistance. Reality is a great despot and overrules our pride.


it is better to die as a pauper, with their honor intact, then to be a beggar at the mercy of the unjust and unrighteous


These students acted like complete savages. The Consul came to give a speech on peace and this is how he is treated? I think the UK should stop funding these ungrateful little ingrates. If they don't need money, fine. Let them do without. Spoiled buggers

Who is John Galt to make such good points?

You make some good points, but you should also fault them for not wanting the other one-state solution that makes them part of Israel where they would have far more rights.

Britain and Palestine

Yea we are. It started with the Balfour Declaration of 1917. I presume it was made because GB was strapped for cash to fight the war and wanted to borrow money from cash rich US Jews. Well, it must have worked for we won the war and eventually the US Jews got their reward in the shape of the State of Israel.

Britain and Palestine

I bet with size of the chip that sits on each of your shoulders you don't need shoulder pads.