On 13 July, Fobzu spoke to the Right to Education Campaign (R2E) about Israel’s targeting and arrest of two women and Birzeit graduate students, Layan Kayed and Lama Ghosheh. Both Kayed and Ghosheh were released from military detention and house arrest in July. R2E highlighted that students who speak out against Israel’s policies are often targeted by the Israeli authorities through repeated arrests, in an attempt to silence dissent and the voice of Palestinian student movements.
Layan Kayed, is a coordinator of the Palestinian Coalition for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights at ‘Adala’ and a postgraduate student in Social Development at Birzeit University. Kayed was released after being detained for 26 days without access to a lawyer and subjected to intensive interrogation in Israeli military detention. This is not the first time Kayed has been targeted, she was previously detained by Israeli military authorities as an undergraduate student for 16 months in 2020-2021. Kayed is a community organiser, playing an active role within Birzeit University as part of a coalition of postgraduate students.
In September 2022, Lama Ghosheh, also a postgraduate student at Birzeit University, was arrested by Israeli military forces. A journalist from occupied East Jerusalem, Ghosheh’s writings have addressed the political reality of Palestinian life under occupation. Ghosheh was arrested by the Israeli occupation forces for her writings. She was placed under house arrest for 10 months and released in July 2023. Following her release, Ghosheh was issued with a fine, ordered to complete community service and handed a three-year suspended sentence. The consequence of the suspended sentence is that Ghosheh could be detained for up to six months if she commits ‘any violation’. The journalists' union condemned the verdict which it noted, "aggravates the violations committed by the occupation authorities against journalists in the framework of their professional work [in exercising] their freedom of opinion and expression."
The targeting of Palestinian female students who speak out against Israel’s violence is nothing new. In 2021, following Layan Kayed’s first arrest, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found Kayed’s arrest to be arbitrary; highlighting that it lacked a legal basis, and that it was carried out in breach of international human rights law. The Working Group subsequently referred the case to the Special Rapporteur on violence against women and the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls. Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) and Addameer have consistently worked to raise awareness of the systemic and discriminatory arrests carried out against Palestinian students in breach of international human rights law. Despite the UN Working group’s findings in 2021, both Layan Kayed and Lama Ghosheh have both been subjected to arrests and detention for the peaceful exercise of their human rights again in 2022 – 2023. Human rights organisations like LHPR have emphasised that the use of arbitrary military detention to intimidate Palestinian students and discourage them from exercising their fundamental civil and political rights is systematic, with a profound impact not only on the wellbeing of the targeted students but the wider student body and new generation of Palestinians growing up under military occupation.