In continuation of its barbaric aggression on our people and national institutions, the Israeli occupation forces stormed Birzeit University’s campus in the early morning hours of Wednesday 14 December 2016. These blatant attacks and subsequent measures of harassment constitute outrageous interferences to our right to education.
Birzeit University expresses its deepest concern regarding this belligerent military attack on the university, its sanctity, and violation to all the international and fundamental principles involved in the freedom of education.
A large number of heavily armed Israeli forces stormed in Birzeit’s campus at dawn through the western gate, forcing the campus security guards to stand against the walls, and raiding several buildings including the university’s administration building, the Headquarters of the student council, Kamal Nasir Hall and the Faculty of Science. They forcibly deterred our university security personnel as they invaded these buildings, leaving a great deal of havoc behind.
The Israeli military confiscated the students’ flags and banners, and sabotaged properties inside campus and the administration building.
Birzeit University views this attack as very dangerous and a barbaric intrusion. We deplore the conversion of its academic facilities to military barracks, as well as the confiscation of its student property, searching parts of the administrative offices.
As an academic institution that aspires to live by the values of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, the Israeli occupation needs urgently to stop its aggressive behavior against all Palestinians.
The academic freedom of Palestinian academics and students is severely hindered, due to the occupation, its policies and continuous defiance of the fundamental rights of our people and the sanctity of our universities, and that must be defended.
Birzeit University confirms that these attacks will not deter its commitment to higher education, and the pivotal role it has played since its establishment.
The Israeli occupation had waged an extensive campaign against Palestinian universities in the last two years. In June 2014 and January 2016, Israeli Occupation raided Birzeit University and confiscated the contents of student blocs’ offices. They also attacked Palestine Technical University- Kadoori, and the building of the Arab American University of Jenin, as well as Al-Quds University in Abu Dis.
The university calls on the academic institutions and human rights organizations to immediately put a stop to these raids and violations, and actively engage in supporting our struggle for liberation.