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Right to Education

Right to Education Campaign at Birzeit University demands for urgent action to end systematic targeting of students by Israeli military occupation

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The Right to Education Campaign and the Student Movement at Birzeit University organized on March 22, 2022 a protest on campus demanding the protection and release of university students who are imprisoned by the Israeli military forces.

Scores of Palestinian students at Birzeit University are being forcefully denied their right to education, hindered by a large-scale campaign of unlawful arrests, detentions and other brutal attacks waged by the Israeli military forces since the beginning of 2022.

During the protest, the Right to Education Campaign denounced the long-established Israeli policy of attempting to intimidate and silence Palestinians. The campaign documented that between January 1 and March 22, twenty students were arrested; only eight of them later released. Students arrested were detained by the Israeli military forces multiple times during their studies at Birzeit University. Israeli forces also summoned several students for interrogation. As of the writing of this statement, 58 students are detained in Israeli prisons.

These attacks do not stop with the students themselves, as the Israeli military forceces recently targeted families of student prisoners, arresting Osaid Abu Adi’s father and raiding the home of Ismail Barghouti’s family.

Undercover Israeli forces attack and detain students inside and outside of campus; threaten them via text messages and other communication platforms; and harass their families. The Israeli occupation’s attempts to silence students are part of a wider policy aiming to systematically destroy the educational, political and cultural lives of Palestinians. Detaining and harassing students — and their families — especially in the last few weeks of a semester when they are about to submit their final papers and take their exams, is a clear attack against education in Palestine.

Parallel to their violations inside and outside of campus, Israeli authorities also target students inside detention centers and prisons. A month ago, Israeli military prison authorities raided the cells of Palestinian political prisoners in the Nafha Prison, attacking many, including Yazan Mghames, a Birzeit University student who has been detained without charge or trial by the Israeli occupation since July 2019. Additionally, at least eight students were infected with Covid-19 in the Ofer detention center and the Damon prison, where Israeli authorities have allowed the deadly virus to spread freely.

As students are about to start a new academic semester in the end of March, the Right to Education Campaign urges the international community to demand: the immediate release of student prisoners who are denied their right to education; an end to the arrest, detention, and intimidation tactics used against Palestinian university students inside and outside university campuses; and an immediate end to the large-scale violations of our students’ right to education.

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