Charles Stratford

Gazan students' fugitive lives

In the last four years, Israeli authorities have all but refused to issue permits for students from Gaza to travel to and from the West Bank. They have also made renewing permits increasingly difficult for students who began their degrees before the Intifada started. In 2000, 370 Gaza students enrolled at Birzeit University. Enrollment of Gaza students in 2005 is down to 39. Those who began their degrees in 2000 have been left with two stark choices: They can either drop out or stay and risk all that this entails. “We live a different life to students from the West Bank,” explains Abdel Rahim, one of the 35 Gaza students still studying at Birzeit. 

"It Was Like Abu Ghraib": Israeli Abuse of Birzeit University's Gazan Students

The Israeli army issued a statement yesterday (Tuesday 14th December 2004) that a decision would be made in the next 48 hrs concerning four Birzeit University students who were illegally ‘deported’ back to Gaza last month. An international letter writing campaign involving hundreds of academics from around the world has been launched demanding they are returned to the university to complete their degrees. All were due to graduate this year. Bashar Abu Salim is one of the four. Charles Stratford tells the story about what happened on the night of his arrest. 

Lives torn apart in Ramallah

“My son was shot by them on a day like today,” says Georgette, “the bullet passed straight through his chest but he’s alright now, thank God.” She leans frailly on the fence that separates our gardens in Ramallah. “Best you not go out just yet, if you need anything just ask.” The Israeli Defence Force are in town again. They’ve been here all night arresting men suspected of involvement with armed resistance groups. They bang on doors and pull young Palestinians into the back of waiting jeeps. They come and go as they please.