Israel arrests pro-Hamas students from Birzeit University ahead of student elections
The eight were detained after Israeli authorities sent threatening texts to families of students.
“Tomorrow (Wednesday), student elections will be held at Birzeit University, so you know that your son/daughter’s vote for the Islamic bloc is considered to be Hamas activism, which gives us the right to deal with them according to the law,” the message said.
In a statement, Wafa identified the detained students as Mu'tasim Zalloum, Abdul Rahman Alawi, Muhammad Al-Fateh, Muhammad Arman, Wissam Turki, Dia Zalloum, Abdul Majeed Hassan and Amin Farah.
Zalloum's arrest took place in a public park when he was taken by undercover plain-clothed Israeli soldiers on a trip with his family, local sources told The New Arab's Arabic-language service Al-Araby Al-Jadeed. The owner of the park, identified as Amin Qassem, was also arrested.
Birzeit University is one the oldest and largest Palestinian universities in the West Bank, with around 14,500 registered students in 2020, according to university records.
It has long been an important centre for Palestinian activism, with a number of its students currently political prisoners in Israeli jails.
Around 70 students from Birzeit University are currently under Israeli arrest, a spokesperson told The New Arab.
Prisoners' rights group Addameer says that the arrests serve Israel's ultimate goal of cementing its illegal occupation of the West Bank and maintaining its apartheid regime against Palestinians.
In 2015, Hamas won the Birzeit University council elections for the first time since 2007.