The health of some of the student hunger strikers at Bethlehem University in the occupied West Bank has deteriorated as they continue their protest against the university's "financial procedures". According to the Palestinian Authority official news agency, one of the students participating in the protest said that three of the students on hunger strike were taken to Beit Jala hospital on Monday morning; Jalal Hamdan, Mohamed Soman, and Ali Farhan were taking part with almost 30 others in the open hunger strike before being admitted to hospital.
The Coordinator of the Fatah Youth Brigade at the university, Fuad Abu Mufrih, said, "Today the students are waiting for a final response from the university administration on their demands according to the promises they have been given, especially now that the university president has returned from a visit to Italy." Abu Mufrih confirmed that the number of striking students went up to 35 as he threatened that the hunger strike will grow; a sit-in will be staged in the halls of the university if the administration does not respond promptly with the implementation of its promises.
The hunger strike started after the university did not implement the demands that were raised by the student council. The demands include the cancellation of the fines imposed on students who were unable to pay their debts, and carrying the debts forward to the next semester.
The President of the Student Council, Mohammed Qaraqe, told Quds Press that the university raised tuition fees for first year students despite their "difficult economic situation". He said that the students will continue their sleepover inside the corridors of the university.