Hamas students during protest at An Najah University, Nablus

Hamas supporters claims political persecution on West Bank university campus

Students claim they were violently attacked by PA security forces, wounding some and arresting others; violence attributed to Hamas victory of Fatah in student council elections at Birzeit University

Elior Levy |
Published: 06.16.22, 20:29
Supporters of the Islamist Hamas faction, at the An Najah university in Nablus, claimed earlier this week that they were being prevented from demonstrating on campus by the Palestinian Authority security forces, and some said they were even victims of violent attacks by supporters of the Fatah faction backed by campus security.
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  • The altercations came after Hamas's overwhelming win in student council elections at Birzeit University, also in the West Bank, last month.
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    Hamas students during protest at An Najah University, Nablus
    Hamas students during protest at An Najah University, Nablus
    Hamas students during protest at An Najah University, Nablus
    (Photo: Courtesy )
    The Hamas supporters won a majority vote over Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah group at Bir Zeit, raising concerns that the student vote could be an indication of growing support for the Islamist group among West Bank Palestinians at large.
    PA security forces entered the Nablus campus in the past week, to violently break up their protestation of regulations preventing them from expressing their political views.
    Some of the students were injured in exchanges of fire and others were detained.
    3 View gallery
    Nablus An Najah university security on campus
    Nablus An Najah university security on campus
    Nablus An Najah university security on campus
    (Photo: Courtesy )
    Following the violence, the university said studies will be held online and the campus would remain shut, in an effort to return calm.
    The Hamas condemned the attack on its supporters. "What happened was a disgraceful crime. The University administration with their security force failed to protect the students," a senior member of the party said.
    3 View gallery
    Hamas students during protest at An Najah University, Nablus
    Hamas students during protest at An Najah University, Nablus
    Hamas students during protest at An Najah University, Nablus
    (Photo: Courtesy )

    Hamas also arrested the president of the Palestine University in Gaza Dr. Salem A. Sabbah, a known Fatah supporter.
    The prosecution in Gaza said the detention was the result of a complaint lodged against him, although no further details were divulged. Sabbah began a hunger strike he said would be to the death or until justice was served.
    Observers believe the arrest was a direct response to events in Nablus.









    Officials in the ruling Fatah faction in the West Bank were considering their strategies going forward after the scathing defeat to Hamas in the elections to the student council at Bier Zeit University, earlier this year.
    The support for the Islamist Hamas was seen as an indication of the direction Palestinian voters might take outside campuses.


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