Issued by the Embassy of the State of Palestine to the Hellenic Republic
13 January 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
”Being an Occupier does not give Israel the right storm the Campus of Birzeit University, arrest Palestinian Students and destroy offices and student blocs within the Campus
At early dawn Monday the 11th of January, an Israeli occupation army force of about 15 vehicles broke into the headquarters of Birzeit University after breaking down the university’s western gate, and turning it into a military outpost.
Israeli occupying Soldiers raided the office of the Students’ Council, where they seized flags, banners, loud speakers, audio devices and computers belonging to students. The soldiers further destroyed some of the contents and denied the access of the university’s guards to the scene.
The Ambassador of the State of Palestine to the Hellenic Republic, H.E. Marwan Toubassi stated “The actions of Israel the occupying power are a flagrant violation of International law and to the sanctity of this reputable and well recognised Educational Institution. Every Palestinian has a right to higher Education and these inhumane actions by an occupying power will not break the will nor deter students of their right to education.”
This raid and previous recent ones, such as the attacks and continuous Israeli harassment on Palestine Technical University, Al Quds University and the Arab American University during the last few months, aims to undermine the Palestinian educational system.
Ambassador Toubassi added “We call upon the Greek Government as signatories of the Fourth Geneva Convention to pressure Israel in abiding with International Law and the right of education and call upon the academics, academic institutions and Higher Education Institutions of the Hellenic Republic to condemn these series of violent Israeli Military raids on Universities in the Occupied State of Palestine.”
Ambassador Toubassi added “The President of Birzeit University, Professor Abdul Latif Abu Hijleh had to cancel a trip to the Hellenic republic due to this attack on Birzeit University. His visit was to explore cooperation and sign MOUs with several Greek universities (Aristoteleous University of Thessaloniki, National Technical University of Athens, and Technological Educational Institute of Athens) as part of Educational cooperation between Palestine and the Hellenic Republic.”
Over one third of the Palestinian population are students in full-time school or university education; and that in spite of the systematic attacks on educational institutions over 38 years of the Israeli occupation, Palestinian education and higher education remain resilient.
Birzeit University was sealed off by an Israeli Army roadblock for nearly 3 years between 2001-2003, and that today the road to Birzeit remains subject to frequent ‘flying checkpoints’, which block, harass and intimidate students and faculty trying to reach the University. Birzeit University has been closed down by Israeli military order 15 times in its history; and that all the Palestinian universities and the majority of schools, including kindergartens, were closed down by military order between the years 1987-1992, denying a whole generation their right to education.”