Temple student faces assault charge for Israel/Palestine fracas

Credit: Metro file photo Credit: Metro file photo

A Temple University student alleged to have punched or slapped another student during an argument over Palestine and Israel in August has been charged with simple assault.

Abdel Aziz Jalil, 22, alleged punched a Jewish student, who has identified himself as Mark Vessal.

Jalil reportedly turned himself in authorities on Tuesday, was arraigned overnight and released today after posting 10 percent of $1,500 bail, Philly.com reported.

Jalil was reportedly seated at a table belonging to the group Temple Students for Justice in Palestine on Aug. 20.

Accounts of what occurred vary widely.

Temple student Daniel Vessal told truthrevolt.org that he approached the students at the table to debate with them about politics.

“I go up to them and I really just wanted to see what angle they were coming from. I went up to the table and started talking to them. I said, ‘listen, you shouldn’t be protesting Israel- if anything protest the terrorists,'” Vessal told truthrevolt.org.

As the conversation continued, while members of the group called Vessal a “baby-killer,” according to his version of his events, one person at the table abruptly punched him in the face.

But Temple SJP released a statement on GoogleDocs calling the punch “a slap” and said that Vessal aggressively approached the group.

“‘He didn’t try to have a conversation at all, he just walked past our table saying he couldn’t believe it exists. He then proceeded to say that we support terrorism and other racist anti-Palestinian statements,’ said Rose Daraz, the President of SJP Temple. The people manning the table, all of whom were women, asked him to leave, because they sensed he would only bring trouble,” the statement states.

The statement continues, according to member Samantha Pinto:

“I heard him say Israel is not occupying Palestine, but that Palestinians are occupying Gaza. I started laughing at the sheer absurdity because Palestinians are indigenous to Gaza and also unable to leave because of the inhumane siege Israel has maintained since 2007,” Samantha continued. “In response, I heard him say ‘You’re sitting here laughing like idiots!’ He aggressively moved closer to me as he said this. It was then that B.*, who is not an SJP member, slapped Vessal. His sunglasses fell to the ground, but he did not.”

B. is a pseudonym for Jalil.

Simple assault is a third-degree misdemeanor that can carry a punishment of up to one year in prison.

Jalil’s next court date is scheduled for Oct. 1.

Temple reportedly is also conducting its own investigation of the incident.

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