Palestinian Authority Security Forces Beat Up University Students, World Condemnation Does Not Follow
Western media, human rights, and academic organizations ignore story.
On August 23, Palestinian Authority (PA) “security forces” raided Bir Zeit University dormitories and assaulted its students. As reported by Khaled Abu Toameh in the Jerusalem Post, the raid was part of an ongoing crackdown against Hamas supporters in the West Bank.
— The Jerusalem Post (@Jerusalem_Post) August 23, 2022
Hamas is a terrorist group that seized control of the Gaza Strip from the PA in 2007. It has support in the West Bank, although how much is difficult to gauge since there haven’t been any elections since the Hamas takeover in Gaza. The PA has scheduled and canceled elections a few times. Naturally, Hamas has held none in Gaza. Hamas is certainly popular at Bir Zeit. Its affiliate won a landslide victory in student council elections last May.
According to Toameh:
“The [Palestinian] General Intelligence officers raided the dormitories after midnight and searched some of the rooms,” one of the students told the Ultra Palestine website. “They searched my room and asked me about posters of [slain anti-corruption activist] Nizar Banat and other banners. One of the officers told me, ‘Take care of yourself; don’t cause trouble.’”
Banat, a resident of Hebron, was beaten to death by PA security forces during a raid on his home in June 2021. He was famous for posting videos on social media in which he accused PA officials of corruption.
The student, who was not identified by name, said he heard the screams of other students who were apparently beaten by the PA officers.
A representative of the Hamas-affiliated Islamic Bloc at Bir Zeit University said two of his colleagues were severely beaten by the officers during the raid. The officers also confiscated the laptops of the two students and handed them summonses for interrogation.
Bir Zeit’s student council condemned the raid.
Bir Zeit Univerisity Student Council condemns Palestinian security forces for arresting and harassing students. pic.twitter.com/Yosv5tw24l
— Khaled Abu Toameh (@KhaledAbuToameh) August 24, 2022
But, sadly, it’s not unique. Both the PA and Hamas are corrupt and undemocratic. They don’t recognize much less uphold the rights of Palestinians to be secure in their persons or property.
As Prof. Cary Nelson observed in an article reprinted by LIF:
… the most serious threats to academic freedom in Gaza and the West Bank come from Palestinian society itself. The BDS movement in the United States has focused its moral outrage on such matters as foreign faculty members being denied entry to teach in the West Bank, though most often they simply face delayed entry by Israeli authorities. Actual denials can easily be appealed to Israeli courts. Are not Palestinian attempts to kill Mohammed Dajani and Abdul Sattar Qassem for their politically incorrect speech more serious? Do not the gangs of student enforcers trained by Hamas to intimidate, harass, and assault dissident faculty members represent a greater threat to academic freedom than any IDF practices? There is little hope for dialogue with those unwilling to answer these questions in the affirmative.
But – wow! A university invaded! Students beaten! Laptops confiscated! Even if it was business as usual in the West Bank, surely Western media must have had a field day! Er, except for the laptop – maybe that part was Russian disinformation.
Not so much. These dogs didn’t bark. Like American media who have little interest in black-on-black crime, Western media in general have little interest in Arab-on-Arab violence. Only when they can blame Jews do they pretend to care about Middle East violence, or Palestinians in particular.
Most interestingly, the political advocacy group Middle East Studies Association (MESA), which used to be a respected academic organization, has been silent about the incident.
That’s not surprising, given that the main purpose of this Middle East studies group nowadays appears to be undermining the very existence of the Middle Eastern country called Israel. MESA’s Committee on Academic Freedom loses no opportunity to issue protest letters whenever Israel looks for terrorists at a Hamas hotbed like Bir Zeit. As we’ve previously reported:
MESA’s Committee on Academic Freedom did not see fit to issue any complaints whatsoever against Hamas, Fatah, or any other group for fostering or participating in violence on campus, leading to the closure of multiple universities. MESA did not complain to the Palestinian Authority about its security police “invading” West Bank universities, violating Palestinian students’ protest rights by using force to disperse protesters, arresting ten students into a corrupt judicial system, or failing to keep campuses as “safe spaces” by maintaining order on campus. It certainly did not accuse Hamas, Fatah, or the PA of violating students’ free speech rights.
It did not write to the administrators of these four universities objecting to the campus closures, not even when officials shut down Hebron University over men and women dancing together. It did not accuse them of violating their students’ academic freedom, right to education, or right to socialize with whom they pleased.
On January 10, Israeli soldiers arrested five Bir Zeit University students affiliated with Hamas and other Palestinian factions.
Because of that, MESA issued a protest letter February 8, complaining about Israelis’ “storming of the gates of Birzeit University, arrest of five students and firing of live ammunition on university grounds.” MESA condemned the so-called “invasion” as a “horrifying escalation of ongoing assaults on Palestinian universities,” especially Bir Zeit. MESA complained that the arrests violated Palestinian students’ “right to peaceful protest… academic freedom and freedom of speech,” their “rights to education,” and were “part of a larger assault on the Palestinian right to education.” MESA also asserted (without evidence) that the arrests were “arbitrary” and “turn[ed] campuses from safe spaces into zones where students’ and staff members’ politics put them in grave danger.”
But, criticizing or even recognizing PA abuse of Palestinians at a Palestinian university? Standing up for Palestinians’ academic freedom? Nyet.DONATE
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