Temple Student Charged in Israel-Palestine Confrontation
The Jewish Exponent reports that Abdel Aziz Jalil, the 22-year-old Temple student who allegedly hit a pro-Israel Jewish student on move-in, has been criminally charged with simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.
The alleged victim was a Temple student named Daniel Vessal.
DA spokeswoman Tasha Jamerson wrote in an email that Jalil had “turned himself into police this afternoon and he is currently being processed by the police department.”
When asked why Jalil was not charged with a hate crime, Jamerson explained that “in order for ethnic intimidation to be charged, the malicious intention toward the religion, ethnicity or race of the victim must be the motive for the commission of the underlying crime.
“According to the victim himself, he does not believe that he was assaulted because of religion, race or ethnicity,” Jamerson wrote. “Witnesses at the scene also expressed the same opinion, they did not believe this victim was assaulted because of religion race or ethnicity.”
Temple University has said it will convey the same information from the police investigation to the Office of Student Conduct, where a range of actions — including suspension and expulsion — is possible. The results of the hearing process are private, however.
A pro-Palestine group on campus, Students for Justice in Palestine, said it had no affiliation with Jalil and condemned the attack when it happened. Temple’s Q&A on the issue, however, suggests the organization may also be scrutinized by the Office of Student Conduct.The group is reportedly seeking legal advice.
The Electronic Intifada, a pro-Palestine website, said the group has vowed to continue its activities at Temple.
Samantha Pinto was adamant that the 20 August incident won’t deter Temple SJP’s schedule of events and political organizing on campus.
“While I think this is definitely possible that [Vessal] was trying to instigate us, it’s not going to take away from our work that we do on campus, which is really important,” Pinto said. “SJP has been on campus for over ten years, so we’re not going anywhere.”