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 15, 2024

Attack Types: Imprisonment | Other

Institution(s):An-Najah National University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Palestine (OPT)

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On January 15, 2024, Israeli forces raided Al Najah University and detained 25 students.

The raid occurred at dawn. According to Palestinian media sources, at the time that they were detained, the students were participating in a sit-in to demand an easing of tuition fees. The protest had reportedly been going on for 26 days. Israeli forces arrested all of the students participating in the sit-in. According to Israeli media sources, Israeli forces detained nine Palestinians who were suspected of being members of Hamas.

The group Palestine Captives reported that Israeli forces released 12 of the detained students later that same morning.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the forced entry into a higher education institution by military forces and about the arrest and detention of students, apparently for their political affiliation and exercise of their right to freedom of expression and association – conduct which 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 both Israel and Palestine are parties.. While security forces have a responsibility to maintain security and safety, they must also refrain from the disproportionate use of force and ensure that their actions do not endanger civilians. Absent a compelling reason to do so, campus raids undermine academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.