Israeli forces raid, confiscate computers from university in the West Bank

Published March 23rd, 2016 - 06:00 GMT
Students arrive at the Arab American University in Jenin, West Bank. (Wikimedia Commons)
Students arrive at the Arab American University in Jenin, West Bank. (Wikimedia Commons)

Israeli forces overnight Monday raided the campus of the Arab American University in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin and confiscated items -- including computers and flags -- from student union offices.

The university’s public relations department told Ma’an that 11 Israeli military vehicles stormed the campus grounds at 1 a.m. and broke into the office of the Dean of Students, as well as a number of offices belonging to the student union.

The Israeli soldiers broke down doors and destroyed property in the offices before seizing flags of student union blocs as well as two computers and paper documents, the department said.

The university’s administration released a statement denouncing “Israel’s aggressive policy which violates the sanctity of university campus.”

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah immediately condemned the raid.

“This is not the first time that the Arab American University and other Palestinian educational institutions have been subjected to arbitrary Israeli raids,” the PM said, citing raids on Birzeit University and the Kadoorie Institute in recent months.

"I reiterate our call for international protection,” Hamdallah said. “Israel should not be allowed to continue to act above the law. The international community witnessed yet another violation of the sanctity of Palestinian educational institutions, and it should not remain silent.”

The Israeli army said in a statement that Israeli forces had "uncovered and confiscated inciting propaganda materials linked to multiple terror organizations including Hamas" inside the university, adding that the operation was "based on intelligence information."

"In the recent wave of terror we've witnessed how incitement fuels acts of violence and terrorism," the statement said. "Efforts as this prevent future attacks."

In addition to the statement, the army released what it said were "visuals from the overnight activity" -- photographs of an Islamic Jihad flag and a Hamas one, as well as a poster depicting three recently slain Palestinian attackers, referred to as "martyrs."

Political flags and posters are commonly found items across the occupied West Bank, with poster of martyrs appearing throughout every West Bank town and village.

Palestinian universities and their students in the occupied West Bank are frequently targeted by Israeli military forces, and campuses have come under increased military presence since an increase in violence in October.

Earlier this month Israeli forces raided the Khadoorie Institute -- also known as Palestine Technical University -- twice in an 18-hour period.

The Tulkarem-area campus has seen heavy military presence in the past. Student-organized marches in October to protest Israeli violations and raids onto the campus eventually resulted in Israeli forces to position themselves at a temporary base on university property.

Dozens of university students have been injured by Israeli military forces since.

Birzeit University near Ramallah meanwhile has reported dozens of student detentions, while Abu Dis' al-Quds Open University has often found itself a focal point of violent clashes between Palestinian students and Israeli soldiers.

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