The Berkeley Intifada

When Paul Hadweh decided to make his own course dedicated to exploring Palestine, he was approved, then denied, then reinstated after a frenzy of international backlash.
A group of Palestinian youths cycle past a section of Israel's separation barrier to promote a cultural festival in the West Bank city of Ramallah and as a protest against the wall on June 30, 2009 in the Qalandia checkpoint between northern Jerusalem and Ramallah.
10_14_Palestine_01 Source: ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty

For a Palestinian insurgent supposedly determined to see Israel destroyed, Paul Hadweh looks remarkably like his fellow students at the University of California, Berkeley. I met the 22-year-old senior on the rooftop of a campus building, overlooking the expanse of San Francisco Bay, which glimmered in the pure light of late afternoon. He wore gray Converse sneakers, stylish jeans and a teal T-shirt. On the table beside him lay an iPhone, earbuds coiled, and a packet of loose tobacco. He could have been just another kid, except a nervous energy radiated from him like steam. This was understandable, for in the last month, Hadweh has been depicted as an enemy of Israel, one dangerous enough to allegedly warrant intervention from the country’s government.

For a few moments, we admired the view of the Bay Area. We were about 140 miles from Chowchilla, the Central Valley town where Hadweh lived until he was 10 years old; and we were about 7,000 miles from Beit Jala, the West Bank village of mostly Palestinian Christians where Hadweh’s father, a doctor, moved the family in 2003 (it is near Bethlehem); but we were mere steps from where, in 1964, Berkeley students launched the Free Speech Movement, in protest of the administration’s restrictions on political activity. This juxtaposition galled Hadweh, irritated him more than Israeli politics, more even than the death threats he has received. “They’ve thrown an undergraduate student under the bus in the

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