Campus Watch Research
Research on Terrorism and Extremism at An-Najah University
by Cinnamon Stillwell
Professor Rabab Abdulhadi, director of SFSU's Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diaspora Initiative (AMED), is the architect of the MOU. Abdulhadi has a record as an anti-Israel activist and an apologist for Palestinian terrorism. She has pledged to set up a student exchange program with Najah, posing a significant security risk to SFSU students, faculty, and the wider community.
According to Matthew Levitt, director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy's Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, An-Najah University is known for the "terrorist recruitment, indoctrination and radicalization of students," particularly those associated with the Hamas-affiliated Islamic Bloc (Kutla al-Islamiya).
Hamas describes An-Najah as "greenhouse for martyrs," while the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) notes that An-Najah's student council "glorifies suicide bombings and propagandizes for jihad against Israel." Of the thirteen members of An-Najah's 2004 student council, eight belonged to Islamic Bloc. An-Najah put off its 2015 student elections indefinitely for fear of an Islamic Bloc victory.
Terror Attacks & Glorification of Terror
July 2016: Muhammad Fakih perpetrated a drive-by shooting that killed Otniel Yeshiva director Rabbi Michael Mark and wounded his wife and two of their children. Fakih was a member of Hamas's military wing (Izzadin Kassam) who had spent four years in Israeli prison for involvement in terrorist activity with Islamic Jihad while studying at An-Najah University.
March 2016: An-Najah University held a "human chain of readers" event at the arts faculty plaza to honor the "martyred" terrorist Baha Alyan, who, along with another Palestinian terrorist, killed three Israeli civilians on a bus in Jerusalem in October 2015. Alyan organized the first such event in Jerusalem in 2014 and was presented as a role model to children and youth in the Palestinian Authority following the 2015 terrorist attack. Similar events were held at Hebron University, Al-Quds University, and Bir Zeit University.
March 2016: The Progressive Student Action Front at An-Najah University organized a vigil (photos) in the main plaza for Omar Al-Naif, a Palestinian terrorist who carried out an attack in 1986, killing one, and moved to Bulgaria after escaping from an Israeli mental hospital. In February 2016, he was found dead on the grounds of the Palestinian embassy in Bulgaria and although authorities stated that no signs of violence were found on his body, Palestinians insist he was assassinated by Israel. As reported by the PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, "the vigil included a speech by the secretary of the Progressive Student Action, in which he recounted the Martyr's illustrious deeds, his life of struggle, and his heroic operation."
March 2016: As reported by the PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, "the national An-Najah University launched the Your Initiative is Their Resolve – the Martyr (Shahid) Ziad Abu Ein Prize, under the patronage of [PA] Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. . . . Chairman of [PA] Committee Against the Wall and Settlements Walid Assaf said: 'The settlement issue has existed from the moment the colonialist project in Palestine began in 1881.'"
December 2015: Incited by the ongoing frenzy of violence directed at Israelis known as the "stabbing intifada," 20-year-old Maram Hassoneh was killed in her second attempted knife attack on IDF soldiers manning a checkpoint. Hassoneh, a devout Muslim, was a top English student at An-Najah University who had already served six months in prison for another unsuccessful stabbing attempt on a soldier two years earlier. She was part of an unprecedented spike in female involvement in Palestinian terrorism against Israelis.
March 2015: A terror cell affiliated with Hamas was arrested in Qalqilya, in the West Bank. The arrested include Malec Raad Farouk Janam, a member of Kutla al-Islamiya at An-Najah University. The perpetrators confessed to plotting a series of terror attacks against Israelis, as well as revealing chemical substances used to manufacture explosive devices.
March 2015: The Islamic Bloc at An-Najah University sponsored a weeklong exhibition on Jerusalem (photos) that glorified the perpetrators of terrorist attacks and incited Palestinians to carry out further violence. It included a display showing a car running over an Israeli civilian and a poster with a picture of Yehuda Glick, an Israeli activist advocating Jewish access to the Temple Mount, who had recently survived an assassination attempt, with a target on him. On March 7, a poster was uploaded to the Facebook page of the Islamic Bloc describing the perpetrator of a March 6 vehicular and stabbing attack that wounded seven people as follows: "The hero Mohammad al-Salaima . . . the perpetrator of the heroic Jerusalem attack. . . . Glory to the lion of Jerusalem."
October 2014: Students rioted in protest against a visit to their campus by U.S. consular officials, who had come to An-Najah to support educational and cultural activities on campus. Dozens of students, chanting anti-U.S. slogans, surrounded one of the U.S. vehicles and tried to prevent it from entering the university. The protesters did not want U.S. officials on their campus because "the U.S. supports Israel." According to the Progressive Student Labor Action Front, which is associated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), "the United States provides massive military, economic and political support to the occupier and its war crimes." Eyewitnesses said that campus security personnel used excessive force to disperse the protesters.
June 2014: An-Najah's graduation ceremony featured banners paying tribute to Hamas leaders and graduates posing for a picture, holding up three fingers to represent three Israeli teens kidnapped by Hamas, the terrorist act that ignited the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict.
March 2014: A rally at An-Najah to commemorate slain Hamas leaders Ahmad Yassin, Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rantisi, and Ibrahim Al-Maqadma featured militant displays, with masked men carrying Hamas flags and models of rockets. Organized by the Islamic Bloc and titled "Loyalty and Steadfastness on the Path of the Martyrs," the rally one of a series of events marking "Martyrs' Week." The rally, which was broadcast on Al-Aqsa TV, included a speaker declaring, "We, the [Fatah] student movement at the An-Najah University, direct a resounding message to the Zionist enemy alone: We shall never yield or surrender. We have many martyrdom-seekers at the ready, which neither you nor your government can hold back."
March 2014: The Islamic Bloc at An-Najah University put on an exhibit titled "Promise and Loyalty" as part of "Martyrs' Week." It posted a picture from the exhibit on its Facebook page, featuring a model of a bus after a bombing with a full moon above it emblazoned with the text, "When you see the roof of a bus fly off – know that this is a Hamas operation." The group posted another photo of the exhibit showing photos of female terrorists Wafa Idris and Reem Riyashi. Idris, the first Palestinian female suicide bomber, killed one and injured over 100 in her attack in central Jerusalem in 2002, while Riyashi blew herself up at the Erez crossing in 2004, killing 3 soldiers and one civilian. Yet another photo displayed artwork with the faces of Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rantisi, co-founder of Hamas, and Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, founder and former head of Hamas, in a paradise-like setting and the text, "The Martyrs' (Shahids') paradise."
March 2014: The Facebook page of the Islamic Bloc at An-Najah University called for the murder of Jews by posting a cartoon of a religious Jew hiding in fear behind a tree with this caption emanating from the tree: "O Muslim, O servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me – come kill him." This is a reference to the Hadith (sayings and practices attributed to Islam's Prophet Muhammad), which asserts that as the killing of Jews progresses, Jews will hide behind stones and trees, but the stones and trees will call out, "Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him."
April 2013: At An-Najah University, an entire graduating class was named after Abu Jihad (Khalil Al-Wazir), the founder of Fatah and deputy to Yasser Arafat. He headed the PLO terror organization's military wing and planned many deadly Fatah terror attacks. Speaking at "an appreciation ceremony for the outstanding students from the Martyr Abu Jihad Class," Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki "expressed hope that the class would fulfill the dream of Martyr commander Khalil Al-Wazir [Abu Jihad]."
April 2012: Omar Ja'ara, a lecturer at An-Najah University and specialist in Israeli affairs, appeared on a PA TV religion program and claimed that Moses was a Muslim who brought "the Muslims of the Children of Israel out of Egypt." He referred to the subsequent Israeli conquest of the Land of Israel as the "first Palestinian liberation . . . of Palestine."
March 2012: A sculpture at An-Najah University of a map that erases Israel was broadcast on the PA TV program "In a Fighter's Home."
March 2011: Under the auspices of An-Najah University President Rami Hamdallah, the Al-Aqsa Karate and Martial Arts Academy, in cooperation with the National Campaign to Return the Church of the Nativity Exiles, held a karate championship named for Abdallah Daoud, one of the terrorists who stormed the Church of the Nativity in 2002.
July 2004: Security forces foiled a Hamas plot to bomb sites in Netanya, infiltrate a terrorist into a settlement in Samaria, and kidnap a soldier. Among those arrested, Ala'a Joisi headed the cell and was one of the leaders of the Islamic Bloc at An-Najah University. In March, security forces thwarted a suicide car bombing which he masterminded. Khir Ahmed Wahdan, also a student at An-Najah and active in the Islamic Bloc, was incarcerated in Israel between 2000-2003 for terrorist activities. Osama Rahman Abu Mahane also studied at An-Najah and was a member of the Islamic Bloc.
November 2004: The names of 19 "shaheeds," all students at An-Najah University, appeared on the back cover of an "information kit" distributed by Fatah's Shabiba student movement.
March 2002: Several Hamas operatives involved in planning and executing the Park Hotel bombing in Netanya—which killed thirty civilians, wounded 140, and prompted Israel to launch Operation Defensive Shield, the reoccupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip—were associated with the Islamic Bloc at An-Najah. Muhammad Shrim was head of Kutla al-Islamiya activists at Khaduri College, a branch of An-Najah. Abbas al-Sayyid, the mastermind of the Park Hotel attack (and the May 2001 shopping mall bombing that killed five and injured one hundred; he was convicted for both in 2006), was recruited into Hamas by Jamal Mansour. Mansour, like many other Hamas leaders, gained "executive experience" early in his career managing the Islamic Bloc al-Najah University from 1979 to 1982. Israeli intelligence officials believe he was involved in more than a dozen deadly terrorist attacks, including the June 1, 2001, suicide bombing at the Dolphinarium discotheque in Tel Aviv that left twenty-one dead.
September 2001: An-Najah art students associated with the Islamic Bloc constructed a gruesome replica of the August 2001 Sbarro pizzeria Jerusalem suicide bombing, in which 15 civilians were killed and 130 wounded, and displayed it on campus to mark the one-year anniversary of the Second Intifada. The replica included fake blood and body parts, and it served as the entrance to an exhibit that was open to the public and titled "Splendors of Terror." The replica led to such outcry that it forced then-Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat to issue a statement claiming that he was "gravely disturbed and offended by the images in the exhibit," and to order it closed.
March 2001: A Hamas suicide bomber blew himself up, killing fifteen people at the Israeli-Arab owned Matza restaurant in Haifa. Qais Adwan, a senior Hamas member, masterminded the bombing, produced the bomb, and recruited and dispatched the bomber. Adwan was a former Islamic Bloc leader and head of the An-Najah student council, and also head of the Qassam Brigades in the northern West Bank. Adwan also found and dispatched the Hamas suicide bomber who perpetrated the August 2001 attack at the Sbarro Pizzeria restaurant in Jerusalem. One month later, Adwan dispatched an Israeli-Arab he had personally recruited to perpetrate a suicide attack at a crowded railway station in Nahariya, killing four.
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