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Committee for Solidarity with Bir Zeit University

The activity of the Committee for Solidarity with Bir Zeit University literally became front-page news during the months of November 1981-January 1982. This was a result of a series of demonstrations it held at Bir Zeit University and in Ramallah, the nearest West Bank town.

Three days after the Bir Zeit University campus was closed, hundreds of Israelis sneaked into the grounds and held a symbolic re-opening ceremony before the eyes of the surprised Israeli Defense Forces detachment. Leaflets denouncing the closure were distributed in Bir Zeit and in Ramallah. Three weeks later, a demonstration by the Committee for Solidarity with Bir Zeit University was broken up in the center of Ramallah and fifty participants were arrested. A series of rallies against the closure took place in Israeli universities. It was no surprise when Bir Zeit University was closed for an additional two months, on February 16, 1982, just a few weeks after it had been permitted to reopen at the beginning of January. A few days later, the Committee for Solidarity with Bir Zeit University went to the streets and again clashed with Israeli Defense Forces soldiers in Ramallah. Not long after the Ramallah demonstration, a mass delegation of the Committee for Solidarity with Bir Zeit University participated in a stormy rally at Bethlehem University.

The scope and the militancy of the various actions were unprecedented. Media coverage was abundant since the Committee's tactics were confrontational- and involved a hitherto unseen level of contacts and cooperation between Israeli activists and Palestinian leaders. The Committee for Solidarity with Bir Zeit University had found a formula of politics and tactics that made it an important factor in the Israeli peace movement up to and after the outbreak of the war in Lebanon in June 1982.

Technicalities

Our collection contains about 75 items. The material includes press clippings and photographs, material authored by members of the Committee - including information sheets, leaflets, organizational lists and documents.
The archive language is English, while the items may be in Hebrew, English or Arabic.

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