Dozens of student union officers from universities across the UK have signed a statement condemning a recent raid by Israeli occupation forces on Birzeit University, in the West Bank.
The 7 March raid saw undercover soldiers assault and abduct Birzeit student council leader Omar Kiswani, after entering the campus pretending to be journalists.
In a statement coordinated by Friends of Birzeit University, UK student union officers condemned the storming of the Palestinian campus, described as “the most recent example Israel’s long term and systematic assault on the Palestinian right to education”.
The statement notes how “Palestinian schools and universities have been subjected to targeted military offensives, demolition and raids”, while “students and teachers face arrest, harassment and restrictions on movement”.
In particular, the Right to Education campaign at Birzeit has reported “a rise in arrests of students since the beginning of 2018”, with more than 60 Birzeit students currently detained in Israeli jails.
“For those of us who are student representatives and members of student unions in the UK,” the statement adds, “we are deeply disturbed by Israel’s criminalisation of student associations and the practice of harassing and detaining student council members and leaders – undermining key institutions of Palestinian democracy and civic life.”
Signatories – who are still being added – say they “stand in solidarity with Palestinian students denied their right to education and support their demands to live and study in an environment free from the violent practices of Israel’s occupation.”
“We will continue to work to demonstrate to Palestinian students that they are not alone in the struggle for their rights and call for the education community and students in the UK to join us,” the statement continues.
“In addition, we call on the UK government to end its complicit silence on Israel’s violations of the Palestinian right to education and hold Israel accountable for its violations of Palestinian rights.”