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: June 25, 2023

Attack Types: Loss of Position

Institution(s):Al Quds University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Palestine (OPT)

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On June 25, 2023, Israeli police issued orders against two students from the West Bank temporarily barring them from their studies at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, apparently because of their student union activities.

Israeli police summoned Bara’a Fuqaha and Batoul Dar Assi, both students at the Faculty of Medicine at Al-Quds University to the Ma’ale Adumim police station east of Jerusalem. There, the two were questioned about their participation in the student union. Following the questioning, both women were given orders barring them from entering Al-Quds University, effectively suspending them from their studies. Under the emergency orders that Israel uses to govern the West Bank, Israeli authorities are able to prevent Palestinians from entering certain places.

Fuqaha was suspended from her studies for six months. Dar Assi was suspended from her studies for four months.

Fuqahu contested the decision in Israeli military court; however, her challenge was rejected. On August 24, the military court issued another decision that confirmed her suspension. Neither Fuqahu nor her lawyer were given access to the files on which the military court based its decision.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about state authorities barring students from accessing education apparently in retaliation for nonviolent student activism. Students have a right to nonviolently exercise the freedom of expression and freedom of 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, to which Israel is a party. State authorities have an obligation to ensure due process, transparency, and fairness when engaging in disciplinary action.