Israeli occupation forces raided Birzeit University, north of Ramallah, at raid today ransacking campuses, student union offices and confiscating pro-Palestinian banners and flags.
According to a statement released by the university: “A large number of heavily armed Israeli forces stormed Birzeit’s campus at dawn, raiding the headquarters of the student council in Sheikh Rashid Bin Said Al-Maktoum Building, Kamal Nasir Hall, and the Faculty of Science, and confiscated the students’ flags and banners.”
“The Israeli occupation has waged an extensive campaign against Palestinian universities in the last two years,” the statement continued. “In June 2014 and January 2016, the Israeli occupation raided Birzeit University and confiscated the contents of student blocs’ offices.”
The attack was condemned as a “very dangerous act against academia and Palestinian students”. The university said it “aspires to live by the values of democracy, freedom of speech and respect for human rights.”
Students from Birzeit took part in a large rally two days ago in protest against President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; a decision that broke with international consensus. It’s reported that the raid was carried out to prevent students from organising another rally today.
The university denounced the raid as a “flagrant attack” on learning and free speech, adding that it was the “latest in a series of Israeli and American moves that undermine the Palestinian cause, the most prominent of which was the recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by the US President Donald Trump”. It was “an act”, continued the statement, “which supports the Israeli occupation’s continued human rights and international law violations toward the Palestinian people and their academic institutions.”