Arab Students Dance with Israelis, Sparking School Strife (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Rachel Hirshfeld 06/01/12)
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An Arab principal in the Palestinian Authority-run city of Qalqiliya
has been shunned for allowing his students to dance with Israelis on
a beach in Yafo during a school trip, Gulf News reported Friday.
Principal Mohammad Abu Samra, 33, of the Al Salam Secondary School,
was transferred after he organized a picnic outing for his 11th and
12th grade students.
“Those Israelis and a child joined us on the dance floor and I could
not object or ask them to leave. It was purely unintentional and that
has affected my future,” explained Abu Samra.
The students have been up in arms over the Ministry of Education’s
decision to transfer the principal to a school more than 30km away
from his current area of residence and have organized several
demonstrations demanding that he be reinstated.
Abu Samra asserted that each student who went on the picnic had to
provide parental approval, agreeing that the student could join the
organized school trip. “It is illogical and unfair for me to be
punished,” he said.
Speaking to Gulf News, Abu Samra said the students were around 17 to
20 years old and noted that it was difficult to control them on the
“It is true that in keeping with the regulations of the Ministry of
Education the pupils were not allowed to swim, but how could I have
controlled them once they were there?” he asked.
When Abu Samra instructed his students to get back on the bus, they
saw a group of Israeli men and women preparing a dance floor with a
“On our way to the bus, my pupils were attracted to the music and I
could not say no to them,” he said. “My pupils started dancing and I
also joined them at the beginning to let them have fun,” he said.
“Volunteers shot a video and took a couple of still photos and
forwarded them to the Palestinian Ministry of Education, with a
complaint that the incident would imply that there was normalisation
of ties with Israel and it exposed the young generation of
Palestinians to Israel’s illicit code of conduct,” he said.
“I was thereafter given two choices: either be downgraded to the
position of a teacher with a final warning or voluntarily seek
transfer to a far-away school,” he said.
A senior official from the Ministry of Education said that Abu Samra
should not have allowed his students to dance in the first place and
that the fact that Israeli women were also seen on the dance floor
further complicates the issue.
The official stressed that Abu Samra had committed several
administrative mistakes during the outing. Although the picnic was
licensed by the Ministry, mixing with Israelis on the beach should
not have been allowed, the official said, speaking on condition of
“This issue has serious social and political ramifications and trips
such as this should be planned and executed in a more conservative
way,” the official added. (IsraelNationalNews © 2012 06/01/12)
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