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: January 10, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances | Imprisonment | Other

Institution(s):Birzeit University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Palestine (OPT)

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On January 10, 2022,  Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) stormed the Birzeit University (BZU) campus, where they opened fire on students and arrested five students participating in a student union meeting. 

About 14 undercover IDF soldiers stormed the BZU campus and fired live ammunition at students, injuring at least two. The soldiers reportedly interrupted a student union meeting, arresting five union members, including Ismail Barghouti – who was reportedly shot in the course of his arrest – as well as Walid Harazneh, Qassam Nakhleh, Muhammad al-Khatib, and Abdel Hafez Sharbati. 

The raid comes almost one month after the IDF’s ’December 14, 2021 raid of the BZU campus, where they reportedly assaulted guards, damaged university property, confiscated students’ belongings, and sparked violent clashes (see report).

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the forced entry into a higher education institution by military forces, the use of violence against students, and the arrest and detention of students, apparently in connection with the nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and association — conduct that is expressly protected by international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. State authorities have an obligation to refrain from retaliating against the nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and association. Such actions undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.