Thursday, February 21, 2019 | ePaper

US student Lara held in Israel over BDS support

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Al Jazeera News :
A 22-year-old American graduate student has appealed against her detention at Israel's international airport over her alleged support for the Boycott, Divestment and
Sanctions (BDS) movement. Lara Alqasem appeared in a Tel Aviv court on Thursday. She will remain in detention until the court delivers a ruling; no date for the ruling has been fixed. Israel has come under heavy criticism for its handling of Alqasem's case.
Alqasem, who is of Palestinian descent, has been held at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport for more than a week after arriving from the United States to begin a master's degree at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, despite having a valid visa.  But a senior Israeli minister on Wednesday defended the government's handling of Alqasem's case.
Gilad Erdan, who oversees the government's efforts to counter the Palestinian-led boycott movement, said that Israel has the right to protect itself and decide who enters its borders. On Tuesday, Erdan said he would be open to changing his position if Alqasem personally denounces the boycott of Israel.
The BDS movement started in 2005, after a call issued by Palestinian civil society groups for "people of conscience" around the world to help end Israel's abuses against Palestinians, by cutting off cultural, academic, and economic ties with the state.

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