At around ten o’clock this morning, two Israeli military vehicles carrying about twelve soldiers arrived at the main gate of Birzeit University. They stayed for about twenty minutes, during which time the soldiers prevented students, faculty, and staff from entering or leaving the campus.
The president, vice-presidents and senior University officials came to the scene and strongly objected the presence of the army at the campus gate. The army informed the administration that there is an intention to place a military checkpoint at the University gate.
The University administration sees the intrusion as a serious matter which violates all international norms and threatens academic freedom. In addition, a checkpoint, if placed, would completely obstruct the normal operations of the University since more than six thousand people come daily to the campus. The situation is very grave and volatile and should be resolved urgently since the new academic year is about to start within a couple of weeks.
The University is pursuing all efforts to prevent the establishment of such a checkpoint or the repetition of further military intrusions.
The University administration hopes that these efforts will be supported by all individuals and organizations who promote issues related to academic freedom and human rights.
Contact: Dalia Habash, Senior Information Officer, Birzeit University