‘Arrested at any time’: Palestinian students in Israel’s crosshairs

A Birzeit University student flees from Israeli forces during a demonstration at the entrance of Israel’s Ofer Prison on 5 October 2019.  (photo: AFP)
A recent spike in detentions of Palestinian university students has put a longstanding issue back in the spotlight.

By Qassam Muaddi | Middle East Eye | Jan 9, 2020

‘The occupation tries to break the morale of young Palestinians, especially those who are preparing themselves academically, in order to push them to leave their country – especially those who are politically aware and active…’
— father of detained student Hadi Tarshah

For most students, grades, exams and social commitments are some of life’s biggest preoccupations while at university.

But not so for Hadi Tarshah. At 24, the young Palestinian man has spent the past semester in Israeli prison, and his primary concern is his court hearing in March.

Similarly, Mays Abu Ghosh, who is recovering from brutal torture in Israeli custody, is a mere semester away from graduation. And a fellow student Azmi Nafaa has struggled for three years to obtain his diploma from behind bars.

In the last months of 2019, the Israeli occupation has launched one of its most aggressive arrest campaigns against Palestinian students in recent years.

Statistics by Palestinian prisoners’ rights organization Addameer indicate that some 250 Palestinian university students are currently imprisoned by Israel. According to the Right to Education Campaign at Birzeit University, Israeli forces detained 30 students from the leading Palestinian institution alone over a period of four months.

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