Dozens of Palestinian students under arrest as student leader continues hunger strike

Omar Kiswani

As Bir Zeit student council president Omar Kiswani continues his hunger strike against his ongoing detention and interrogation following his violent arrest on 7 March by disguised occupation forces who invaded the university campus shooting live ammunition, Palestinian students continue to be targeted for arrest and persecution by Israeli occupation forces.

Wissam Elias Rabie

Palestinian student Wissam Elias Rabie was seized by occupation forces who invaded his family home on Friday, 30 March in a pre-dawn raid. This marked the third day in a row that occupation forces attacked the home in Beit Anan near Jerusalem; his father, Elias Rabie, was seized on a prior raid in an attempt to pressure Wissam and his brothers were taken for interrogation.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Bloc at Bir Zeit University said that 21 student activists affiliated with the bloc are currently imprisoned in Israeli jails; there are approximately 60 jailed Bir Zeit students overally. Among them include Yahya Alawi, the student council secretary; Ahmad Rayyan, representative of the Islamic Bloc; Ahmed Abu Yousef, coordinator of the bloc; and Qasim Hamail. The bloc said that these arrests are an attempt to suppress student organizing in the upcoming Bir Zeit student council elections.

Kiswani has been on hunger strike for 12 days against his mistreatment and torture under interrogation. Despite his strike, the Israeli military court at Ofer prison renewed his detention in al-Moskobiya interrogation center, where he has been subject to continuous interrogations for up to 18 hours every day, again on Wednesday, 28 March.  There are approximately 340 students imprisoned by the Israeli occupation.