At noon on 29th November, the Birzeit University community gathered to mourn the killing of two of its members by Israeli military forces. Classes were suspended for the day and flags flown at half-mast as students, faculty and staff congregated on campus for the funeral of Thafer and Jawad Rimawi, who had been shot in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Thafer, 21, had been an undergraduate at Birzeit’s Faculty of Engineering and Technology, and Jawad, 22, a recent Business and Economics graduate. The brothers were shot in Kufr Ein, a village north of Ramallah, during incursions by Israeli military forces in the occupied West Bank that led to the killing of five Palestinians in one day.
Birzeit issued a statement declaring that the University community would ‘not be deterred by the ongoing Israeli assaults and will continue its academic and national role despite the challenges’, and calling upon the international community and civil society to take action to stop ‘Israeli attacks that violate human and education rights in Palestine.’
The killings took place during what has been the deadliest year for Palestinians since the UN started systematically recording fatalities in 2005. So far, over 160 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza have been killed by Israeli military forces or settlers in 2022. UN legal experts have issued a statement condemning ‘rampant Israeli settler violence and excessive use of force by Israeli forces.’