RAMALLAH: About 10,000 Palestinian students living in Israel and studying in Palestinian universities in the West Bank have faced challenges recently due to the escalation of Israeli army incursions into Palestinian cities, arrests and killings.
At least 250 of them have left universities and returned to their places of residence inside Israel, sources confirmed to Arab News.
Their studies were greatly affected by general strikes, mourning for victims of Israel's violence, and increasing Israeli military checkpoints at the entrances of Palestinian cities, resulting in universities suspending classes.
Some 5,000 students are studying at the Arab-American university in Jenin, 3,000 at the An-Najah University, 1,100 at Jerusalem University in Abu Dis, and another 1,000 at Hebron university.
Sources told Arab News that one of the reasons behind the Israeli harassment of the students is the $8 million the Palestinian universities receive annually from these students. If they quit Palestinian universities, these institutions will lose the amount and Israeli universities will gain.
The number of Palestinian students from inside Israel studying in Palestinian universities in the West Bank constitutes a good source of income for these universities. This helps revive the Palestinian economy, as these students rent places to live near these universities.
Students decided to withdraw from studying at these universities because of Israel's harassment, inquiries, and interrogations, in addition to the deteriorating security conditions in those cities. Also, Israeli security agency Shin Bet has established a special unit to monitor Palestinian students.
Commenting on the issue, political analyst Jalal Banna said: "These students are studying in a geographical area that poses a major security challenge to Israel, so it is natural to look at them suspiciously."
Meanwhile, the Israeli minister of education rejected the bid by Palestinian university students to contract Arab colleges inside Israel to complete their studies.
Amir Assi, a Palestinian university lecturer living in Israel, told Arab News that Israeli behavior in this regard is a disgrace to the occupying forces, as Israeli authorities are unwilling to remove the obstacles that the Palestinian students face.
Youssef Jabarin, a university lecturer, said: "Israel refuses to establish an Arab university for Palestinians in Israel that teaches in Arabic, and at the same time it does not want them to study in Palestinian universities under flimsy security pretexts.”
In another development, Jenin’s Gov. Major General Akram Rajoub, told Arab News that the Israeli army's invasion of Jenin and its camp had caused catastrophic effects on people there.
Commenting on growing poverty in Jenin and its camp, he said that before Ramadan, he used to distribute 200 coupons to low-income families to help them buy daily goods, but now some 700 coupons are required.
He said that the Israeli army turned Jenin and its camp into “a practical training camp for its forces" through various units and the use of technology such as drones and others.