Statement by Birzeit University on the Israeli Military Raid on its Campus and Detention of its Students

Just one day after the start of its 2023-2024 academic year, Israeli occupation forces stormed Birzeit University campus in the early morning hours of Sunday, September 24, 2023 in another targeted attack against Palestinian educational institutions andspecifically Birzeit University. During the raid, they arrested several students including the elected Student Council President, violently assaulted the university’s guards, andvandalized the Student Council’s office.

The incursion was carried out by tens of undercover Israeli special military forces and military vehicles, in effect laying siege to the university. They forcibly entered the university grounds by assaulting the university guards, confiscating their phones, and restraining them. They broke into the Student Council office and arrested eight students: Abdulmajid Hassan (the elected Student Council President), Amro Khalil, Abdullah Mohammad, Ahmed Awaidat, Yahya Farah, Mahmoud Nakhleh, Hassan Alwan, and Abdullah Abu Qiyas.

The recurring and brutal invasion is an extension of the military occupation’s systematic policy to break down the educational system in Palestine, particularly attempting to exert control over Palestinian youth, their aspirations and right to education. The number of Birzeit University students currently detained in Israeli military prisons exceeds 80. Birzeit University has been subjected to military raids and arrest campaigns since its establishment, and last academic year several students were shot at and subsequently imprisoned by Israeli occupation forces at the eastern gate of the university. 

Birzeit University calls upon international human rights and academic organizations to support Palestinian higher education institutions by publicly speaking out and taking actions to bring an end to the violations of human and national rights of the Palestinian people. The University will not be deterred by ongoing Israeli assaults and will continueto fulfill its academic, societal, and pedagogical missions.