Palestinian student Yahya al-Qarout abducted by Israeli occupation forces

Please click here to read this report in Arabic.

Today, Thursday 4 June 2020, Israeli occupation forces abducted Palestinian university student Yahya al-Qarout from his family home in the Aqtaba area in occupied Tulkarem after large numbers of occupation soldiers stormed the home at 4:00 a.m. Al-Qarout is in his third year of study at Bir Zeit University, where he studies computer science. He is also the secretary as the preparatory committee of the Bir Zeit University Student Council.

Samidoun Network in occupied Palestine communicated with Yahya’s family, who told Samidoun representatives that this was his first arrest. His family is making attempts to reach the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission in order to learn more about their son’s situation and seek his immediate release. He is expected to be brought before Israeli occupation military courts on Sunday.

The al-Qarout family noted that Yahya is a calm, dedicated student who loves sports, especially weightlifting and football, and is a very socially oriented person who always tries to help and support others.

This marks the latest arrest in an ongoing Israeli policy of targeting involved and active students and the Palestinian student movement as a whole. There are hundreds of Palestinian university students held in Israeli jails, including approximately 80 from Bir Zeit University.

Over the years, thousands of Palestinian university students have been targeted for arrest and persecution. Palestinian universities have been frequently raided by Israeli occupation forces; student organizations’ offices have been ransacked, their belongings confiscated and destroyed.

Palestinian student activities are notable for their political diversity and expression. Student council elections spark a vast amount of debate and political competition between all trends of the Palestinian movement and are often considered to reflect the prevailing sentiment in Palestinian society. This vibrant expression of a democratic political culture is routinely subjected to violent suppression by the Israeli occupation, including raids and arrests targeting student council members.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network once again urges broad global solidarity with Yahya al-Qarout and all Palestinian students facing repression, arrest and imprisonment targeting their right to education. This includes escalating academic boycott campaigns by students and faculty at universities around the world. Palestinian students continue to organize, struggle and learn despite severe and systematic repression, including torture under interrogation and arrests that inhibit and disrupt their academic careers. We demand the immediate release of Yahya al-Qarout and all imprisoned students!

This 1985 poster by the General Union of Palestinian Students indicates the systematic and ongoing nature of Israeli arrests and targeting of Palestinian students.