Statement on the Israeli Army’s Attack on Birzeit University Campus and Abduction of BZU Students

The BZU Right to Education Campaign condemns in the strongest possible terms the recent abduction and arrest of eight Birzeit University students in a pre-dawn raid carried out by the Israeli army on September 24, 2023. This act represents another grave violation of the sanctity of universities and a direct attack on the fundamental right to education, protected by numerous international laws and conventions. This most recent attack is further evidence that our university is a direct target of the settler state.

Under the cover of night, the Israeli forces’ violently raided Birzeit University’s campus and broke through the university’s main gate. The forces moved through the campus and forcefully invaded the BZU Student Council center. They abducted and unlawfully detained eight students. Among those unjustly arrested are the President of the Student Council Abdel Majeed Hasan and students Abdallah Nejim, Amr Khalil, Mahmoud Nakhleh, Ahmad Owiedat, Hasan Alwan, Abdallah Abu Qias, and Yahya Farah.

This reprehensible incident is not an isolated event. Israeli forces have raided the Birzeit University campus over twenty times in the past twenty-eight years. Just last year, on January 10, 2022, a group of undercover Israeli operatives disguised as Palestinian civilians arrested five students at the university gate in broad daylight.
Currently, more than eighty students from Birzeit University remain unjustly detained by the Israeli settler state. This alarming number serves as clear evidence that the violent arrests of our students is systematic and part of an ongoing campaign to criminalize the student movement in Palestinian universities.

We call upon the international community to condemn these actions in the strongest terms possible. We also call for applying pressure on Israel, particularly through academic boycott campaigns. The targeting of students at Birzeit University is a flagrant violation of international laws and norms that uphold academic freedom and the right to education. Such deliberate and systemic violence by the Israeli authorities must not go unanswered. Silence against this unyielding violence serves to perpetuate injustice and prevent our basic right to education.