Widespread condemnation of the Israeli attack on the university
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has condemned the barbaric attack on Birzeit University’s campus by a unit of undercover Israeli operatives supported by an Israeli army detachment, during which they assaulted and arrested Head of the Student Council Omar Kiswani.
The ministry called the attack a flagrant, provocative violation of the sanctity of Palestinian academic institutions and an extension of the Israeli Occupation’s policy of obscurantism and hostility to education.
The ministry called upon the international community and the United Nations and its agencies to provide protection for Palestinians, Palestinian educational institutions, and the education process in Palestine, especially Jerusalem. The ministry also called upon the international community to hold Israel accountable for its brazen international law violations, which amount to war crimes.
Ministry of Higher Education
The Ministry of Higher Education denounced the attack, calling it an infringement of all international laws and norms, which categorically forbid any intrusion into academic institutions and arrest of students or faculty members.
The ministry reiterated its call for all international and national human rights organizations and media agencies to expose the Occupation’s systematic violations.
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor: The Occupation’s invasion of Birzeit University is an act of perfidy
Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor Spokesperson Sarah Pritchett commented that the incident “is an act of perfidy, which is prohibited under Article 37 of the Protocol Additional the Geneva Conventions (Protocol I). The article categorically states that arresting someone by actions which aim to gain their trust, such as the feigning of civilian, non-combatant status with intent to betray their confidence, is prohibited.”
“This act is a violation of the civilian nature of universities and educational institutions, especially that this is not the first time an Israeli army unit has raided Birzeit University’s campus, as it had done on numerous occasions and confiscated media paraphernalia belonging to student political parties, equipment, and computers,” added Pritchett.
Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate
The Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate condemned the Israeli unit’s impersonation of journalists in their attack on Birzeit University’s campus and the subsequent arrest of its head of the Student Council.
The syndicate called the act a flagrant breach of international laws and norms and a serious violation of journalism as a professional occupation, which endangers the lives of journalists and constitutes part of a policy which is aimed not only at Palestinian journalists but at journalism as a whole.
In its statement, the syndicate called upon the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Palestinian United Nations Envoy to immediately file a complaint to the United Nations Security Council, demanding that it put an end to the Israeli Occupation’s endangering of journalists’ lives and to hold it accountable for its constant crimes and violations of international norms and agreements.
The syndicate also expressed its solidarity with Birzeit University’s administration, Student Council, and Union of Employees and Professors, adding that it is looking into this incident with the International Federation of Journalists and the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association. Additionally, the syndicate will submit the incident for review during its intervention before the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Hemaya Center for Human Rights
The Hemaya Center for Human Rights called the Israeli unit’s act a brazen infraction of the international human rights law and the international humanitarian law, especially the Geneva Conventions; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The center censured the impersonation of journalists to carry out military actions, an act which involves journalists in armed conflicts and endangers their lives.
The center emphasized the need for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to shoulder its responsibility in protecting Palestinian educational institutions from the Israeli Occupation’s attacks and mounting pressure on the Israeli authorities to release the student. The center also called for the Palestinian National Authority to refer the Occupation’s crimes to the International Criminal Court, and for the parties to the four Geneva Conventions and the United Nations General Assembly to carry out their responsibilities in protecting the Palestinian’s right to education.