Celebrating their victory, Islamic Wafa bloc supporters paraded the green flags of Hamas around the Birzeit campus. Hamas officials also praised the results.
Fathi Hamad, a member of Hamas’s Political Bureau, said the student movement had proved that the young were “the fuel of the revolution.”
Saleh al-Arouri, deputy head of the Political Bureau, added that the Birzeit University Student Council elections had proved the ability of Palestinians, despite their differences, to hold transparent and fair elections that expressed the will of the people.
Al-Arouri also thanked the Islamic Wafa movement’s leader and Birzeit University, which he said “still constitutes an incubator for students and free patriotism, and defends this freedom and the right of our sons and daughters to make their own choices.”
Arrests a Day Before the Vote
In the days before the vote, students held enthusiastic rallies on Birzeit’s campus, near Ramallah. Competing student blocs sang songs, shouted chants and delivered emphatic speeches during the candidates’ debates, but there was no violence.
Outside the university walls, things were different. Israeli forces arrested several student members of the Islamic Wafa bloc in a park. One of them, Mutassim Zalloum, was later the victim of a violent assault by prisoners affiliated with the Fatah movement and had to be transferred to hospital.
Asid Al Qaddoumi, a representative of the Islamic Wafa bloc, said the arrests were “aimed at breaking the resolve of the Islamic bloc and intimidating the masses of university students from exercising their electoral right.”
‘A Beacon of Democratic Practice’
Beshara Doumani, the university’s president, praised the elections as transparent and democratic.
Student elections are “one of the most important rituals of Birzeit University that we are proud of, and we exert all our efforts to keep it that way always,” Doumani said on Wednesday. “We are also proud of the participation of all spectra of Palestinian national action in these elections, especially because they come after a two-year hiatus.”