University staff, faculty denounce Israeli arrest of colleague

Birzeit University faculty and staff members condemned the Israeli authorities’ arrest of Widad Barghouthi, a professor of media, in a rally held on campus on Monday, September 2, 2019. Barghouthi was arrested in the early hours of Sunday in an Israeli raid on her house in Kobar, a village approximately 10 kilometers north of Ramallah. 

Sameh Abu Awad, head of Birzeit University's Union of Employees and Professors, denounced the arrest, calling it part of a sweeping campaign by Israeli occupation authorities against the university’s faculty and students. 

Abu Awad asserted that Birzeit University’s faculty, students, and staff stand united against the constant Israeli attacks; he stressed that the university will continue to provide an excellent education and develop the Palestinian community despite continuous Israeli acts of harassment. 

Mohammed Abualrob, chair of the department of media, rebuked the Israeli arrests of media students and faculty as an attempt at silencing Palestinian news media and distorting the national narrative. 

“This is nothing new,” Abualrob said. “The Israeli occupation’s forces have killed one of our department’s students, Saji Darwish, and arrested countless other students and faculty members.” 

Birzeit University and other Palestinian higher education institutions are targeted under an Israeli strategy that aims to disrupt the Palestinian educational process. Israeli forces have closed Birzeit University’s campus 15 times (the longest of which lasted 51 months), at numerous times put up checkpoints and roadblocks that turn the fifteen-minute journey from Ramallah to the university’s campus into a two-hour traipse, and frequently arrested students and professors both in their communities and on campus. 

More than eighty Birzeit University students are currently detained in Israeli prisons.