Israelis disguised as journalists shoot, abduct Palestinian students

| Tamara Nassar pour The Electronic Intifada |Actualités

Undercover agents from Israel’s Border Police stormed the Birzeit University campus in the occupied West Bank disguised as journalists on Wednesday.

They beat and arrested Omar Kiswani, the head of the student council.

The university said Wednesday night that two students were injured by Israeli gunfire during the incursion and were being treated at the hospital.

Birzeit University condemned what it called a “barbaric intrusion.”

It said the assault was part and parcel of Israel’s “systematic destruction of Palestinian educational life by targeting academic institutions.”

During the incident, according to the university, students and campus guards confronted the occupation forces, but the Israeli soldiers confined the guards to their quarters.

Earlier, the university posted the video above on YouTube showing several Israeli gunmen beating and kicking Kiswani and brandishing their guns at other students.

The university also tweeted the video, stating that it shows “Israeli forces kidnap university student, fire shots on campus in broad daylight.”

The undercover Israeli agents – so-called mistaravim – dress up as Palestinians to abduct, injure and infiltrate groups of civilians, often during protests against Israel’s military occupation.

Israel has even used mistaravim to kidnap and kill Palestinians inside hospitals.

The gunmen arrived at the university near Ramallah in a bus with Palestinian license plates, dressed in civilian clothes and carrying press equipment, witnesses told Shehab News Agency.

“They identified Omar and called over to him as if they wanted to interview him as journalists,” Yahya Alawi, a member of the student council who witnessed the assault, told Quds News Network.

“They beat him, pulled out their weapons, and a large group of occupation soldiers stormed through the main entrance of the university.”

Israeli forces then fired several shots at a group of students who were responding to the invasion of the campus by throwing stones.

Alawi added that Kiswani was arrested right outside the student council building.

A video shows three men dragging Kiswani away while one of them holds him in a headlock.

Kiswani is a member of a bloc aligned with the Hamas party which has repeatedly won closely watched student council elections at Birzeit.

Kiswani told media in 2015 that he and fellow activists have been detained by Palestinian Authority security forces and interrogated about their political activities.

The Israeli journalists union condemned the Israeli forces for disguising themselves as journalists, saying that doing so endangered real reporters out in the field doing their work.

Amputated leg without consent

Meanwhile, Israeli forces sentenced Palestinian teen prisoner Jalal Sharawna, 19, to three and a half years in prison and a $500 fine on 25 February.

Israeli occupation soldiers shot Sharawna in the leg before they arrested him in 2015, in Dura, his hometown near the West Bank city of Hebron.

“He was accused of attempting to infiltrate a settlement and carry out a stabbing,” according to prisoners solidarity group Samidoun.

Israeli forces then took Sharawna, a minor at the time, to the Israeli Assaf Harofeh hospital and amputated his leg without consulting his parents or his lawyer.

A mock funeral was held for the leg in Dura in 2015, highlighting the abuse of Palestinian prisoners.

“What happened to Sharawna was an intentional and complex crime,” the director of the prisoners society in Hebron Amjad al-Najjar stated at the mock funeral, according to Samidoun.

The teen’s father, Shaher Sharawna, said that his child’s rights were never respected.

Another Palestinian prisoner, Amir Asad, 35, has been on hunger strike for three weeks to protest medical neglect in Israel’s Gilboa prison.

Asad uses a wheelchair, but Israeli prison authorities refuse to transfer him to the section of the prison designed for people with disabilities, making it especially difficult for him to use the bathroom.

Instead, Israel has placed him in solitary confinement where he is forced to sleep on a mattress on the ground, according to Samidoun.

Asad, from the Galilee town of Kufr Kana was arrested in 2012 and sentenced to six and a half years in prison.

He spent most of that time in the Ramle prison clinic.

He was receiving specialized treatment prior to his imprisonment, but it was interrupted when he was jailed. He is set to be released in June.

|Formulaires et listes
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