Sent to us by a reader.
Dr. Jamal Nusseibeh
Vice President for Jerusalem Affairs
April 2, 2012
For the second time in two months, the Israeli authorities have invaded, searched and prevented the functioning of Al-Quds University’s Institute of Modern Media. This time, they prevented skype contact for an event taking place simultaneously in Jerusalem and Ramallah.
Today, at 12:55 pm local time, plain clothes police arrived at the offices of the Institute of Modern Media, at Al-Quds University, in the old city of Jerusalem. University faculty and students and invited guests had gathered at the location to launch Hona Al-Quds (“Jerusalem is Here” an online multi-media community network focusing on Jerusalem. After mingling with the guests for about fifteen minutes, without any warning, the police locked the office doors, shutting some guest inside and some outside, ransacked the offices, and collected the identification documents of all those inside the building. The building was by that time surrounded by soldiers. They presented those outside with an order in Hebrew, signed by the Israeli Minister for Internal Security, forbidding the launch event on the grounds that it was a “PA” event, i.e. organized by the Palestinian Authority. This was despite the fact that Honaalquds is clearly a part of Al-Quds University, since 1996, recognized as an independent NGO by the Israeli authorities. The Israelis arrested two Al-Quds University employees: Adel Ruished, Administrative Director of Jerusalem Affairs, and Mohannad Izheman, University security guard. Since then, Mr Izheman has been released with a summons to return tomorrow and Mr Ruished is being held at the central Israeli police station.
The University condemns this action as a violation of principles and agreements which protect free speech, academic freedom, and the freedom of the press. This is the second such invasion in recent weeks. On February 29, in the middle of the night, an Israeli military unit invaded the main office of the Institute of Modern Media in Ramallah, searched the offices, and removed the transmitter which the university used to broadcast educational TV programs, including Sesame Street and other programmes for very young children, and a wide variety of programmes for the benefit of the community. The University is an independent institution, neither administered nor governed by the Palestinian Authority. The Institute’s primary mission is to educate and train undergraduate students in media studies and to share university and local news with area residents, and to serve and educate the broader community.