Jerusalem (Nov. 4)
The Military Government closed down Bir Zeit University near Ramallah today and ordered students and faculty to vacate the premises immediately. The order followed two days of disturbances on the campus, long a center of Palestinian nationalist activity.
The disturbances began on Nov. 2, Balfour Day, which marked the 64th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. This has been a traditional day of protest among Palestinian Arabs. But the Israeli authorities said the outburst was linked to the new Israeli policy of transferring administrative functions from the Military Government to civilian control on the West Bank. Palestinian nationalists have rejected the move as a ploy to court favorable public opinion in the West while perpetuating Israel’s occupation of the territory.
A Military Government spokesman said today that the order to close the university followed repeated warnings to the faculty and students to stick to their studies and refrain from violence.