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[Boycott - Academic]

Comment:

Israel has a sweeping ban stopping students from Gaza studying in Universities in the West Bank. The academic infrastructure system in the territories is situated in the West Bank, where most universities are located. Vital medical related courses are only available in the West Bank. Gazan students are forced to listen to lectures over video conference calls which due to technical problems are often only one way - to ask questions they have to use the internet. Imagine learning medicine from a video!

The IDF is also attempting to deport students to the Gaza Strip, who began studying in the West Bank before the ban, and are currently in hiding while completing their studies. This clearly indicates that the ban has nothing to do with security but is in fact designed to prevent Palestinians from studying.

This sweeping ban amounts to collective punishment which is illegal under the Geneva Convention.

There are two points to note.

1. Israel has 8 public universities - only 4 of them have agreed to sign a letter asking the army to allow students to study. That means half of Israels universities support the army ban stopping students from Gaza from attending class in the West Bank!

2. The ban on students began in September 2000, and yet its only now, 7 years later, with the academic boycott looming over their heads that 4 universities has decided to break their silent complicity and tokenly sign the petition. This can only be interpreted as a victory for the academic boycott.



Israeli soldier encroaching on a Palestinian school playground. The murial on the wall shows a barbed fence, holding Palestine prisoner, smashed open by a book with the words from the Holy Qur'an 20:114 - "My Lord! Increase me in knowledge." Boths Palestinians and zionists understand that liberation comes through knowledge, hence israel is blocking Palestinians from education.

For references see www.inminds.co.uk/article.php?id=10114

Israel urged to lift ban on Palestinian students


Rory McCarthy, The Guardian
30 May 2007

The call, in a letter to the defence minister, appears to have been timed to coincide with the vote among British academics over a proposed boycott on Israeli universities.

Four Israeli university presidents and several high-profile authors today called on the Israeli government to lift its restrictions on Palestinian students.

The call, in a letter to the defence minister, appears to have been timed to coincide with the vote among British academics over a proposed boycott on Israeli universities.

The group said Israel should lift a ban that prevents all Palestinian students in Gaza from studying in the West Bank. Several courses, including medicine, occupational therapy and health administration are only available in the West Bank, but Gazan students are not given permission to travel there to study. Israel usually cites security concerns.

"Blocking access to higher education for Palestinian students from Gaza who choose to study in the West Bank casts a dark shadow over Israel's image as a state which respects and supports the principle of academic freedom and the right to education," the letter said.

It was signed by the presidents of Ben-Gurion, Hebrew, Haifa and Technion universities, as well as prominent Israeli authors including Amos Oz, AB Yehoshua and David Grossman. The presidents of two other major universities, Tel Aviv and Bar Ilan, did not sign.

"The military should listen to calls from intellectuals and the Israeli academy who ask that the universal principle of academic freedom be respected - for Palestinians and Israelis alike," said Kenneth Mann, a professor and committee chair at Gisha, an Israeli human rights group. Gisha has brought a petition to the Israeli high court against the ban.

Later today, members of the University and College Union in the UK will vote on whether to introduce an academic boycott of Israel.


Source: http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/worldwide/story/0,,2091528,00.html


Human Rghts Group: Palestinians 'academically boycotted'


Dan Izenberg, The Jerusalem Post
2007-05-20

Academics and university presidents should protest the government's restrictions on Palestinian university students while Israel fights against a proposed academic boycott by British universities, a human rights organization said Sunday.

Since the beginning of the second intifada in September 2000, the IDF has prohibited students from the Gaza Strip from studying in the West Bank and Palestinian students from studying in Israel.

"At a time when we are trying to prevent an academic boycott of Israel, Israel itself is pursuing a policy that continues to sweepingly deny the right of education and academic freedom of Palestinian students," wrote Prof. Kenneth Mann of Tel Aviv University. Mann is chairman of the advisory council of Gisha, the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement.

A delegation of Israeli academics recently flew to Britain to lobby against a motion by the British Union of Universities and Colleges to boycott Israeli institutions of higher education.

Gisha drafted the letter protesting the restrictions, attorney Sari Bashi, Gisha's director-general, told The Jerusalem Post. She said each of the academics was asked to sign the letter, and Prof. Miriam Schlesinger of Bar-Ilan University, Prof. Dafna Vulcan of Haifa University and Prof. Tzvi Hacohen, head of the union of senior staff members of all universities, agreed.

Bashi said Technion Institute of Technology President Yitzhak Apeloig and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev President Rivka Carmi have approved the letter. It has been signed by A.B. Yehoshua, David Grossman, Amos Oz, Natan Zach, Ariel Hirschfeld, Yitzhak Laor and Aggi Mishol, she said.

Meanwhile, the state on Sunday asked the High Court of Justice for another postponement of the deadline for submitting a list of criteria for allowing Palestinians to study in Israel. Gisha had filed a petition calling on the court to allow a Palestinian doctoral student in chemistry, Sawsan Salameh, to study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem since there is no school in the West Bank that grants doctorates in chemistry. The petition was filed on October 6, 2001.

Gisha warned that the state's repeated delays will jeopardize the ability of Palestinian students to be enrolled in Israeli universities for the coming academic year.

In the case of Palestinians studying in Israel, all the university presidents except Bar-Ilan's supported the move, as long as the students met academic requirements.

The court is also hearing a petition filed by Gisha on behalf of 10 occupational therapy students from Gaza who were prohibited from studying in the West Bank, even though there are no schools for that specialization in Gaza.

Source: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?c=JPArticle&cid=1178708647969&pagename= JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull



Israeli University Presidents and Authors to Defense Minister: Stop Blocking Access to Education for Palestinian Students


Gisha Press Release
2007-05-30



Four Israeli University Presidents and Authors David Grossman, Amos Oz, and A.B. Yehoshua to Defense Minister: Stop Blocking Access to Education for Palestinian Students

Wed., May 30, 2007: In a letter to Minister of Defense Amir Peretz, the authors and four presidents of Israeli universities asked to change the policy prohibiting Gaza residents from traveling to the West Bank for purposes of study. The appeal comes at a time when the Israeli academy is battling a threatened boycott. Today, the British-based University and College Union will vote on the boycott motion.

The presidents of Ben-Gurion University, Prof. Rivka Carmi, the Hebrew University, Prof. Menachem Megidor,Haifa University, Prof. Aharon Ben-Zeev,the Technion, Prof. Yitzhak Apeloig, anda group of Israeli authors, -- including Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua, David Grossman, Nathan Zach, Ariel Hirschfeld, Agi Mishol, and Yitzhak Laor – called upon the minister of defense, Amir Peretz, to change the policy that severely violates the right of Palestinian students in Gaza to higher education and that harms the development of Palestinian society.

The presidents and authors write: “In recent years, the security authorities have instituted a policy which prevents residents of Gaza from traveling to the West Bank for the purpose of studies in Palestinian institutions of higher education located there,” even though “essential professions such as medicine, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and health administration may only be studied in the West Bank and are not available in Gaza.”

“Blocking access to higher education for Palestinian students from Gaza who choose to study in the West Bank casts a dark shadow over Israel's image as a state which respects and supports the principle of academic freedom and the right to education,” the letter states.

Prof. Kenneth Mann, Chairperson of the Advisory Committee of Gisha-Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, asked the presidents of Israel’s universities to make a public statement in support of the universal principle of academic freedom and the rights of Palestinian students to access education. Four university presidents agreed, although the presidents of Tel Aviv University and Bar Ilan University declined to sign.

Prof. Kenneth Mann: “The military should listen to calls from intellectuals and the Israeli academy who ask that the universal principle of academic freedom be respected – for Palestinians and Israelis alike.”

Gisha has petitioned Israel’s High Court against the ban. The case will be heard in July.

Additional details: Noga Eitan, Spokeswoman – 054-7533644 or 03-6244120 ext. 104 or noga@gisha.org; Sari Bashi, Director, 03-6244120 ext. 102 or 054-2357579.

Source: http://www.gisha.org/index.php?intLanguage=2&intItemId=426&intSiteSN=113&OldMenu=113


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