Israeli occupation escalates attacks on Palestinian student movement, banning Birzeit leftist bloc

The Israeli occupation escalated its attack on the Palestinian student movement on Wednesday, 21 October, officially labeling the Democratic Progressive Student Pole, the leftist student bloc at Bir Zeit University, a prohibited “terrorist” organization. These arbitrary designations may be issued at any time by an Israeli military commander of occupation forces in the West Bank, and are used as a pretext to round up, detain and violently attack Palestinian organizations and movements. Almost all Palestinian political parties are similarly labeled by the Israeli occupation.

This designation follows a widespread campaign of attacks and arrests against student activists at Bir Zeit University and elsewhere throughout occupied Palestine. Hundreds of Palestinian university students are behind bars, with dozens of those students from Bir Zeit University.

In response to this latest attack, Palestinian women student prisoners (Layan Kayed, Mays Abu Ghosh, Ruba Assi and Elia Abu Hijleh) at Damon prison issued a statement of solidarity to their colleagues at Bir Zeit University:

“To our colleagues at Birzeit University, we send our love and longing to you and appreciate all your efforts, and every action and every word, even if it is small, sustains our souls and supports us more every day. We hope that we will meet soon on the grounds of Birzeit University, and our love and thanks to all students and supporters wherever they are.

Haifa – Daliyat al-Carmel
Damon Prison
Section 3 – Room 3
Layan Kayed, Mays Abu Ghosh, Ruba Assi, Elia Abu Hijleh”

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its strongest solidarity with the Democratic Progressive Student Pole and the Palestinian student movement more broadly. This attack is not only a direct attempt to criminalize student organizing in the occupied West Bank of Palestine, it is also an attempt to criminalize Palestinian students in 1948 occupied Palestine and prevent interaction, joint organizing and collective struggle.

These attacks and the imprisonment and targeting of students also cannot be separated from the attempts to suppress Palestinian and Palestine solidarity organizing on university campuses around the world, including the shutting down of events, government intimidation and pressure, and outright censorship of advocacy for justice for Palestine.

Samidoun urges all supporters of Palestine around the world, especially student groups and organizations, to join us to make November 2020 a month of solidarity and struggle in support of Palestinian student and youth prisoners and the Palestinian student movement, inside and outside Palestine. We can and must make it clear that Palestinian students targeted for repression and imprisonment are not alone and will not be silenced!

To join actions and discuss plans for November solidarity actions for Palestinian students, please contact us at

On October 23, we urge North American campus activists to join the USACBI day of action against campus and tech company repression of Leila Khaled and Palestinian speech generally.