SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: December 14, 2017

Attack Types: Other

Institution(s):Al Quds University | Birzeit University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Palestine (OPT)

New or Ongoing:New Incident

In the early morning hours of December 14, 2017, armed Israeli soldiers reportedly entered the campuses of Birzeit and Al-Quds Universities, raiding student union as well as other offices, and seizing banners and other political materials.

Israeli authorities said in a statement that the purpose of the raids was to seize “incitement materials,”, noting that “posters, flags, and materials inciting terror were confiscated.” The authorities did not specifically state what was written on the materials.  The raids occurred two days after protests elsewhere in Palestine opposing President Donald Trump’s decision to move the United States embassy to Jerusalem.    

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the entry onto campus by government troops, and their seizure of student materials, with the apparent intent of retaliating for or preventing student expression.  Absent a compelling reason for doing so, unauthorized entry onto campus by government troops may violate university autonomy; likewise seizure of expressive materials belonging to students harms academic freedom, freedom of expression and related university values.