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Right to Education

Sample Letter to Demand the Return of 4 Birzeit Students Illegally Deported to Gaza

Written by admin  •  Thursday, 02.12.2004, 15:25

Right to Education Campaign, Birzeit University, 2 December 2004

Please find below a sample letter that you can fax to the Israeli Army Legal Advisor at Bet El and email to the Israeli Minister of Defense, demanding the return of the four Birzeit University students who were illegally deported to Gaza last week.

Please copy to so we have a record of how many letters are sent.

Thank you for your support.


Maj. Yaer Lutstein
Legal Advisor
Bet El Civil Administration
West Bank
Fax number: +972 2 997 7326

Cc: Mr. Shaol Mofaz, Israeli Minister of Defense, Email, Fax number: +972 3 697 6990

Dear Major Lutstein

I am writing concerning the four Birzeit University students from Gaza who were arbitrarily ‘deported’ back to the Gaza Strip on Sunday 21 November 2004. The four students – Walid Muhanna, Bashar Abu Salim, Mohammad Matar and Bashar Abu Shahala – are all students of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at Birzeit University and are all due to graduate by the end of this academic year.

Israeli soldiers forcibly entered the students’ apartment building in Birzeit at 2a.m. on the night of Thursday 18 November and arrested the four students. They were handcuffed, blindfolded and taken to a series of nearby military detention centers where they were held for 3 days. No charges were made against the students and no written deportation orders were issued. The four were simply taken by soldiers and left at the Erez military border crossing into the Gaza Strip.

Due to the restrictions on movement imposed by Israel, it has become virtually impossible for students from Gaza to gain or renew the permits required by Israel, the occupying power, to study in the West Bank. Gaza students enrolled in universities in the West Bank have been forced to either overstay their original permits, facing all the ramifications that this entails, or to drop out of university entirely.

The arbitrary ‘deportation’ of the four Birzeit University students to Gaza and the Israeli restrictions on movement of all Palestinian students in the occupied West Bank and Gaza are in clear violation of the fundamental human right to education, the right to freedom of movement and the right to choose one’s place of residence within a single territory, in accordance with internationally accepted standards of human rights law.

I demand that you immediately issue permits for the four students named above to return to Birzeit University to complete their studies, and insist that all Palestinian students should be free to pursue their higher education in accordance with international human rights law.

Please sign your name, position and institution here.

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