On May 29, 2002 the Israeli Occupation Forces once again implemented the
illegal policy of closure on the Ramallah-Birzeit Road prohibiting thousands of
students, faculty and staff from reaching Birzeit University. Since March of
2001, the Israeli occupation forces have systematically attempted to totally
disrupt the educational process at Birzeit University by digging up trenches,
erecting dirt hills, and placing military checkpoints that have partially or
totally blocked pedestrian and vehicular traffic on the Ramallah-Birzeit Road.
Israeli soldiers at the "Surda Military Checkpoint" on the Road have contravened
all forms of human rights by arbitrarily shooting tear gas, sound bombs, rubber
bullets and live ammunition at University community members and the inhabitants
of the 35 villages and towns surrounding Birzeit, including children, the
elderly and the disabled, attempting to cross the checkpoint.
The Ramallah-Birzeit Road connects between the Palestinian city of Ramallah
and its surrounding Palestinian villages and towns. As such, the closure of this
Road does not serve any "security" purpose as is claimed by the Israeli
government. The only purpose for the checkpoint and closure of this road is to
deny access to the University, destroy the economic and social infrastructure of
Palestinian society, humiliate the Palestinian civilian population, deny them
access to humanitarian relief, and impede their ability to survive.
By closing the road to Birzeit University the Israeli government is
attempting to incapacitate Palestinian society by halting the educational and
developmental process. Birzeit University is facing major delays in completing
the second semester, entailing the inability of hundreds of students to
graduate. Furthermore, as a direct result of the Israeli closures and ongoing
Israeli occupation the University is facing major financial difficulties and is
being isolated from the local, regional and international academic world.
The Israel's arbitrary and extreme use of violence against the Palestinian
civilian population, the denial of access to food, social and health services,
work and schools, the deliberate attempts to disrupt the Palestinian cultural,
educational, and social institutions and organizations, including the continuous
forced closure of Birzeit University, are all violations of international law
including the Fourth Geneva Convention. These violations show a total disregard
for Palestinian rights and for the legitimacy of the international community and
international law, declarations and resolutions.
The University demands an immediate end to the repressive illegal policy of
closure. We call on the international community to express, in the strongest
terms, their condemnation of the massive Israeli human rights violations against
the Palestinian predominantly civilian population and to support Palestinians'
rights to education, development, and life.
Effects of Occupation and Israeli violent aggression on
Birzeit University September 2001 - May 2, 2002
|September 30 - October 8, 2001
||Classes suspended due to outbreak of violence. Classe
reconvened on October 9.
|October 12, 2001
||Bombing of the Palestinian Police station in Ramallah in the
middle of the day creates caos on campus as thousands of students, staff
and faculty are stranded in Birzeit for several hours. Classes suspended
until October 28.
|March 7, 2001
||Israel Occupation Army digs up two trenches on the Ramallah-
Birzeit road. Birzeit University and 33 other villages with a population
of about 65,000 are completely cut off from the outside world. In addition
to the trenches, the Israeli army broke water pipes and cut off the
telephone lines, prohibiting any kind of communication between the
residents and with the outside world.
|March 10, 2001
||Birzeit University decided to suspend its operations
Saturday, to protest the siege that has been imposed on the University and
its neighboring villages since March 7.
|March 12, 2001
||Over 1000 people, amongst them politicians, officials,
academics, staff and students of Birzeit University hold a peaceful march
on the Ramallah- Birzeit road and fill in the trenches that were dug up.
Israeli soldiers fire tear gas, sound bombs and shoot at the marchers to
try to disperse them. One man was killed and scores were injured and
transported to hospitals. Israeli army sent in bulldozers to reopen the
|March 19, 2001
||After a month's delay, the second semester starts. However,
major conjestion on the Surda checkpoint (erected on the Ramallah- Birzeit
road) and travel restrictions greatly affects students and staff access to
|April, May and June 2001
||Continued travel restrictions greatly impede the progress of
the semester with the road being partially or totally closed off at
various times. Many study days are lost. At times, the BZU Community and
residents of the surrounding villages are forced to walk through the
valley, at other times individuals are stranded on one side or the other,
either unable to get home or to get to work or school. On May 19, June 5,
June 6 classes were suspended due to total closures of the road.
|June 9, 2001
||A peaceful demonstration is held to open the Ramallah-
Birzeit road. The Israeli occupation forces fire tear-gas canisters and
rubber coated steel bullets at over one thousand unarmed Palestinian
students, faculty, staff and supporters of Birzeit University. A young
female protestor was shot in the leg. Also, in response to the peaceful
march Israel soldiers erect two additonal checkpoints on the road. Bashar
Hijjeh, a senior student and former head of the student council at Birzeit
University is arrested in his house in Burqa near Nablus.
|June 12, 2001
||Classes are resumed.
|June 13, 2001
||Hundreds of Birzeit University students and staff stranded
in Birzeit with no means of returning to their homes as a result of the
Israeli occupation forces closing off the Ramallah-Birzeit Road to
pedestrian crossing. Those who attempt to cross on foot, are shot at by
the Israeli forces using rubber-coated steel bullets, sound bombs and
tear-gas canisters and are forced to traverse the rocky valley, randomly
being shot at by the occupation forces.
|June 28, 2001
||Three Birzeit University students are arrested at the
checkpoint on the Ramallah-Birzeit Road, making 11 the number of students
arrested since the beginning of the Intifada on September 28, 2000.
|8 August 2001
||The Israeli occupation forces have in recent days driven up
to the Birzeit University campus harassing and intimidating the staff and
|September 17, 2001
||Birzeit University students, staff and faculty, alongside
hundreds of commuters coming from Ramallah to Birzeit are stranded at the
Israeli occupation checkpoint on the Ramallah-Birzeit road. Only after the
University administration persuaded the Israeli army to allow the people
to pass did the Israelis open the roadblock, and then only for individuals
holding a BZU ID.
|September 18, 2001
||An Israeli soldier released a sound bomb at close range at
staff members of Birzeit University. The bomb hit and broke the leg of the
University's Senior Information Officer, Dalia Habash, who was forced to
wear a full leg cast for over three months.
|October 2, 2001
||Around 2000 students, staff and faculty from Birzeit
University along with other officials from various Palestine Authority
Ministries and non-governmental organization and inhabitants from the
surrounding villages, hold a peaceful march toward the Israeli checkpoint
on the Ramallah-Birzeit Road demanding the removal of the checkpoint and
the opening of the road leading to the University and the 35 surrounding
|16 October 2001
||For the first time in over five months, Birzeit University
staff, faculty and students are able to travel between Ramallah and
Birzeit without being stopped, humiliated, or harassed by Israeli soldiers
manning the checkpoint that was erected along the road last May.
|17 October 2001
||Less than 48 hours after evacuating the Surda checkpoint on
the Ramallah-Birzeit Road, the Israeli occupation forces re-instated the
checkpoint. The checkpoint remained totally closed for over three weeks
during which the Israeli army had occupied part of Ramallah.
|November 8, 2001
||The Israeli occupation forces withdraw from Ramallah on
November 7, thus ending the three-week siege that prohibited all access to
the University. Birzeit University resumes classes.
|January 11, 2002
||Birzeit University student seriously assaulted by three
Israeli soldiers at the Surda Checkpoint outside Ramallah.
|January 19, 2002
||American Professor at Birzeit Faces threat of deportation
after being detained in Ben Gurion Airport
|February 19, 2002
||Two Birzeit University students are arrested on their way
from the University to Ramallah. The students are handcuffed, blindfolded,
beaten and stamped on by the Israeli occupation forces, and then put in
the military vehicles to be transported.
|February 21, 2002
||Again, the Israeli occupation forces dig up the road at the
Surda checkpoint on the Ramallah-Birzeit Road, creating a trench across
the road half a meter deep and a meter wide, and making vehicular traffic
|March 5, 2002
||BZU Starts Spring Semester Despite Road Difficulties
|March 13, 2002
||Birzeit University closed due to latest Israeli incursion of
|March 18, 2002
||Birzeit University Resumes Operations
|March 29 - April 21, 2002
1. Scores of students and staff arrested. Some
were detained only temporarily. Others are still being held. 2. University
dormitories and building raided. 3. Beating of University personnel and
using one staff member as a human shield. 4. Electronic Forms of
communication disabled 5. Students stranded without food or money in the
town of Birzeit. 6. The occupation by the Israeli army of staff and faculty
Total Occupation of Ramallah entails a curfew on all Ramallah
residents, massive destruction of Ramallah roads, buildings and utilities,
mass arrests, killing and beating of Palestinians. Effects on Birzeit
- Scores of students and staff arrested. Some were detained only
temporarily. Others are still being held.
- University dormitories and building raided.
- Beating of University personnel and using one staff member as a
- Electronic Forms of communication disabled
- Students stranded without food or money in the town of Birzeit.
- The occupation by the Israeli army of staff and faculty member's
|April 23, 2001
||The University resumes operations. Only a handful of staff
and faculty reach the University.
|May 7, 2002
||We hope to resume classes. For most universities around the
world, the spring semester is coming to an end. We are only getting