Birzeit University students and staff as well as international peace activists have rallied today 2 October at the Surda military checkpoint, which connects Ramallah City with the town of Birzeit. They are demanding a lift of the arbitrary and degrading measures that Israeli occupation soldiers force Palestinian civilians as well as Birzeit University students and staff to endure on a daily basis
Birzeit University students and staff as well as international peace activists have rallied today 2 October at the Surda military checkpoint, which connects Ramallah City with the town of Birzeit. They are demanding a lift of the arbitrary and degrading measures that Israeli occupation soldiers force Palestinian civilians as well as Birzeit University students and staff to endure on a daily basis.
With that in mind, they have written an open letter to the Israeli occupation army, demanding that they lift the suffocating closure that has been imposed around their university for much of the past year. The open letter calls on the occupation soldiers to cease their collective punishment measures and allow students and staff to enjoy their basic right to education and academic advancement. Below is a transcript of the letter:
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE ISRAELI ARMY:
CEASE AND DESIST DISRUPTION OF PUBLIC ORDER
October 2 2001
Open the Road to Education and Peace
We are writing to you on behalf of everyone at Birzeit University, students and staff alike, to try and look beyond all the rhetoric, the media stereotypes and the ugliness of conflict that brutalizes us.
The students you see every day, most of whom had crossed other checkpoints before they get to Surda, are just trying to get to classes, to get an education, to get their degrees and a better future.
The University staff also is just trying to get to classes, to fulfilling an important job for the next generation of environmentalists, businessmen, engineers, teachers, who they hope may one day live and work in peace.
Even as soldiers, you should search your consciences and your hearts and ask fundamental questions about what you are doing and ask if there is a margin in the daily mechanics of this military process you are part of, to make a choice and see beyond phantoms of mistrust and hate and discover the reality of humanity which you ought to honor and respect.
In the spirit and letter of international law and respect for universal human rights, we, educators, students, civilians, and international supporters assembled here today in peaceful protest, call upon the Israeli army to immediately evacuate its checkpoints on the Birzeit-Ramallah road and to cease and desist from:
– Disruption of public order and civil life
– Harassment and degradation of the civilian population
– Obstruction and prevention of education and academic life
– Obstruction and prevention of economic life and opportunity
These actions are contrary to The Hague and Geneva Conventions governing the obligations of an Occupying Power. Those undertaking such actions are liable to international sanctions and prosecution. We remind each and every soldier that respect for international law is a higher obligation than obeying illegal orders.
We affirm our belief in universal human rights and respect for all persons and ask for the international community to join us in enforcing these rights and in opening the road to a just peace.