BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- One of the most prestigious universities in the West Bank on Thursday condemned an Israeli raid on its campus, calling it a "blatant attack on the right to education" by occupation forces.
Israeli forces stormed the campus of Birzeit University north of Ramallah during an overnight raid early Thursday, ostensibly as part of the search for three missing Israeli teenagers that has led to the arrest of nearly 370 Palestinians and raiding of more than 1,000 homes and offices in the last week.
Calling the raid a "barbaric aggression on our people and national institutions," the university said in a statement that the "dangerous" attack was a "direct violation of the sanctity of our university."
"We deplore the conversion of its academic facilities to military barracks, as well as the confiscation of its student property, in addition to wiping out the eastern and western gates, searching parts of the Faculty of Science building and attempting to force open administrative offices," the statement continued.
"Birzeit University confirms that these attacks will not deter our commitment to higher education, and the pivotal role we have played since its establishment," the statement continued, adding: "The provocative measures taken by the Israeli occupation will only lead to a greater conviction and commitment of the university community, academics, staff and students, to the values of freedom, justice and democracy."
In addition to Birzeit University, Israeli forces stormed the Arab American University in Jenin on Friday, where files and documents were stolen from the university's Student Union and employees were detained for the duration of the raid, which lasted several hours.
Israeli forces also used the courtyard of the Palestine Ahliya University in Bethlehem as a holding area for Palestinian detainees during a raid on nearby Duheisha refugee camp on Friday morning.