On February 15, 2022, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) fired tear gas at Al-Quds University students holding a peaceful campus demonstration.
Sources indicate that students were standing outside a campus building giving speeches about forced evictions of residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem. At one point, however, clashes with IDF soldiers reportedly broke out near the annexation wall; sources do not indicate whether students were involved in those clashes. Times of Israel reported that soldiers raided the campus to “break up” the protest. The Palestinian Red Crescent reported 17 students suffering injuries from tear gas inhalation.
Scholars at Risk is concerned by the use of force, including tear gas, in an apparent effort to restrict nonviolent, on-campus student expression — 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, to which Israel is a party. State security forces have an obligation to refrain from taking actions to restrict or retaliate against such conduct. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, the use of force in response to nonviolent student expression undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.