Israeli forces kill student, arrest 11 during peaceful assemblies

In May 2021, the Israeli occupying forces have intensified their use of force against Palestinians, indiscriminately targeting all segments of the society, including Birzeit University students and staff.

Fadi Washaha, a student at Birzeit University, was murdered by Israeli forces two weeks ago while protesting the ongoing military occupation and settler-colonialism in Palestine. He was shot in the head.

Moreover, eleven students were arrested and dozens of the university’s community were wounded, including Lena Meari, a faculty member at the university’s Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, who was deliberately targeted with a sound bomb by the Israeli occupation forces while protesting at the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem. Birzeit University’s students and staff who were arrested, wounded and murdered in cold blood have been targeted for asserting their right to peacefully resist colonialism, whether during the recent assemblies protesting the forced eviction attempts in Sheikh Jarrah or in protests against the latest Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip.

These attacks are neither new nor unprecedented. Arbitrary mass detention, arrests and other widespread and systematic human rights violations, especially against the right to education, take place on a daily basis. Twenty-eight Birzeit University students were murdered by Israeli soldiers, and more than 920 have been arrested over the past 20 years. In 2020-2021 alone, 81 students were arrested. The Israeli occupying forces have also severely restricted students’ movement, limiting their academic freedom and denying them the basic human right to education.

More recently, three female Birzeit University students,  detained in Israeli prisons, have been sentenced last week in unfair trials held and presided over by members of the Israeli military. Ruba Assi was sentenced to 21 months, while Layan Kayed and Shatha Taweel were both sentenced to 14 months.

We at Birzeit University denounce the ongoing targeting of our students and faculty members, and we strongly condemn the ongoing repression and use of force against peaceful assemblies of Palestinians protesting a brutal military occupation that threatens every aspect of Palestinian life.