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Right to Education

Law for Palestine issues a report on Israel’s arrest policy against Palestinian University Students and its weaponization to erode Palestinian national identity and consolidate colonialism


On 27 April 2023, Law for Palestine published the report “Israel’s Arrest Policy against Palestinian University Students (in the West Bank and Israel): A Tool for Eroding Palestinian National Identity and Consolidating Israeli Colonialism.”. The report, prepared by Ihsan Adel and Maha Loulou, with field work by Shaima Khalil, addresses Israel’s systematic weaponization of student imprisonment for Palestinian university students of the West Bank as well as Palestinian university students who are citizens of Israel, as tool to further erode Palestinian political and cultural identity in order to consolidate Israeli settler-colonialism.

The report does not aim to demonstrate all the cases of arbitrary detention of Palestinian students, but rather to frame these arrests in the broader context of Israel’s colonial policy. The report highlights the detentions of university students as a tool of military control, forced displacement, and erosion of cultural and national identity against the Palestinian people.

The legal regime on which Israel is relying to give its policy a legal façade was thoroughly dealt with in the report; including the Jordanian education and cultural law 16 (1964), Military Order No. (854), Military Order No. (101) of 1967 and the 2009 Military Order No. (1651). In the case of Palestinian students citizens of Israel, the state’s law enforcement abuse, the vagueness of laws relevant to the use of excessive force, unreasonable judgment, and systematic punishments are clearly there to intimidate and deter Palestinian students from expressing a Palestinian national collective.

In reaching conclusions, Law for Palestine’s researchers conducted an intensive field work and consultations to examine the different aspects and practice of the policy. In all the cases studied, there was a clear attempt to intimidate Palestinian students and use the state authority to dissuade Palestinian students from publicly displaying a collective identity by intimidation, exhaustion, and coercion in an attempt to completely disconnect them

The team’s thorough analysis analysis led to the following findings, reinforcing the early suggestion that Israel’s arrest policy of Palestinian university students in the West Bank and Israel is direct tool to erode Palestinian national identity and consolidate its settler-colonial regime:

  • There is a systematic policy against Palestinian university students -in both the West Bank and Israel- aimed at paralyzing Palestinian collective action.
  • The policy targets political activism and the development of a future political leadership.
  • It employs Plea Bargains a mean to admit charges and stifle resistance.
  • It classifies students as security prisoners and denying them educational development.

Finally, the report -which will be turned into a series of legal submissions to the relevant bodies- submits that Israel seeks to abolish any Palestinian political or national movement and detain those responsible, including key members of youth and union movements at universities. This practice, confirmed through the indictments, shows that Israel instrumentalizes military orders and laws and uses loose concepts to carry out and justify the detention of and charges against Palestinian students. This illustrates the lengths to which the Israeli occupation goes in order to dismantle the collective consciousness of Palestinians, namely through the targeting of Palestinian university students, erase their national identity, and weaken their political activism to further its settler-colonial rule.

* To read the full report, click here

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