Soldiers Fire Tear Gas and Rubber Bullets at Birzeit University

Surda Roadblock on the Ramallah-Birzeit road, 3 December 2003. Birzeit University has a student body of over 5,000 students and over 700 faculty and staff. The overwhelming majority of the University community members reside in Ramallah and Jerusalem and their only means of reaching the University is through the Ramallah-Birzeit Road. Since the spring of 2001, the Israeli occupation forces have been obstructing vehicular and pedestrian travel along this vital artery by various means. (Birzeit¬†University)

Three Birzeit students were beaten by Israeli soldiers today and 7 others received medical treatment after being badly affected by tear gas fired at the university campus by Israeli soldiers.

On Tuesday, 5 May at 2.30pm, for the fourth time in as many weeks, an Israeli Army jeep pulled up to the Western Gate entrance of Birzeit University. Provoked by their presence, a couple of students began to throw stones at the jeep and the soldiers immediately fired back with rubber bullets.

At the sound of the shots more students started to gather and throw stones and the jeep fired back rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowd of students assembled. Three cars parked at the gate were damaged in the process. The jeep descended to the Eastern Gate where it continued to fire shots and tear gas from a distance at university buildings.

Three students attempting to leave the campus were stopped by the jeep and were punched in the face by one of the soldiers. Two of the students ran away and the last was picked up by the ambulance and taken to the University clinic to receive dressings for his face.

Seven students badly affected by the tear gas were also taken to the University clinic, including a female student who fainted on the campus from the after effects of the tear gas. Another student burnt his hand trying to push a tear gas canister out of the way of students on the campus.

For more information about Birzeit University’s struggle to continue functioning under Israeli occupation, see the university’s Right to Education Campaign website at