Belgian Academics & Artists For Palestine - BAA4P
 

 
 
BELGIAN ACADEMICS AND ARTISTS FOR PALESTINE                  
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Calls, Contributions and Denunciations  --- Academics Against Israel Scholasticide (*)  ---  Actions & Campaigns              
Academic Bulletin N° 13 (November 7, 2022): click here!  --- Culture Newsletter N° 73 (Autumn 2022): click here!             
Solidarité avec la Palestine: Déclaration de principe
Nous, universitaires et artistes vivant en Belgique, sommes pleinement solidaires du peuple palestinien et de sa résistance contre les politiques colonialistes de dépossession, de remplacement et de destruction de la société, de la culture et de la nature de la Palestine par l'État d'Israël.
Nous nous engageons à intervenir auprès des institutions académiques et culturelles et des autorités belges et européennes pour qu'elles émettent des résolutions et des sanctions de l’État d'Israël pour que soient respectés le droit international et les résolutions de l'ONU sur les droits de l'homme en mettant résolument fin à ses politiques criminelles.
Solidariteit met Palestina: Princiepsverklaring
Wij, academici en kunstenaars die in België wonen, zijn volkomen solidair met het Palestijnse volk en zijn verzet tegen Israëls kolonialistische politiek van onteigening, vervanging en vernietiging van Palestina's samenleving, cultuur en natuur.
Wij verbinden ons ertoe tussen te komen bij academische en culturele instellingen en bij de Belgische en Europese autoriteiten opdat zij resoluties en sancties zouden uitvaardigen tegen de Staat Israël. Om ervoor te zorgen dat het internationaal recht en de VN-resoluties inzake mensenrechten worden nageleefd, dient resoluut een einde te worden gesteld aan Israëls misdadige politiek.
Solidarity with Palestine: Statement of principle
We, academics and artists living in Belgium, are in full solidarity with the Palestinian people and its resistance to Israel's colonialist policy of dispossession, replacement and destruction of Palestine's society, culture and nature.
We undertake to intervene with academic and cultural institutions and with the Belgian and European authorities so that they would issue resolutions and sanctions against the State of Israel. To ensure compliance with international law and UN resolutions on human rights, Israel's criminal policies must be resolutely stopped.
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The State of Affairs after the Israeli Elections of November 1, 2022:
It shouldn't have been a big surprise, Ilan Pappé> writes, "to wake up on the morning of 2 November to find out that the Israeli government and Knesset would now be run by a dominant majority of nationalistic religious Jews, Zionists and hardline politicians who have previously advocated official ethnic-cleansing and shoot-to-kill policies against Palestinians."
Or formulated more extensively by Jeff Halper: "The most surprising thing about the Israeli elections is the surprise and 'disappointment' expressed by liberal Zionists, in Israel and abroad. “How could this happen?” Shock at “the most right-wing government in Israel’s history.” As if anything has really changed except that Israelis no longer feel the need to dress up their settler regime in liberal, “democratic” terms. The fact that people are surprised means either that they have never grasped the meaning of Zionism – a case of mass self-delusion – or that they are embarrassed by the public exposure of their violent Judaization of Palestine. In fact, the outcome of the elections was a natural consequence of the Zionist enterprise - indeed, the very culmination to which Israelis have aspired since 1948 (and well before). From its very beginning some 130 years ago, Zionism has been up-front over its intent to Judaize Palestine. To displace the indigenous population and replace it with Jews. To turn an Arab country into a Jewish one. To transform Palestine into Israel. Casting Zionism as a settler colonial enterprise is not merely an academic exercise; it explains the necessary and ongoing violence of conquest, displacement, land grabbing and ultimate repression, if not elimination, of another people whose very presence poses a challenge to exclusivist Jewish national claims to Palestine."
[Ilan PAPPÉ, "Israel's new government pushes country towards the precipice" (Middle East Eye, November 16, 2022); Jeff HALPER, “Reports on the Israeli Elections“ (ICAHD, November 5, 2022).
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Calls, Contributions & Denunciations:

Landmark Palestinian Coalition Report: « Israeli Apartheid - Tool of Zionist Settler Colonialism »
Al-Haq - Defending Human Rights (November 29, 2022, pdf, 220p.) : click here! Together, leading Palestinian civil society organisations, Al-Haq - Law in the Service of Man (Al-Haq), Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer), Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights (Al Mezan), Al-Quds University ‘Community Action Center’ (CAC), the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC), the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH), the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), ​and the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCPRJ), in this report explore Israel’s settler colonial and apartheid regime imposed on the Palestinian people...

« International Call to Endorse the "Landmark Palestinian Coalition Report: ‘Israeli Apartheid: Tool of Zionist Settler Colonialism’" »
Information Sheet (November 30, 2022): click here!
Full text, with the list of the 198 organizations (pdf, 7p.): click here!

198 Organizations including Al-Haq send Letters to the ICC Prosecutor and the ASP (Assembly of States Parties) President
Concerning the Situation of Palestine.

On 23 November 2022, ahead of the 21st session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Al-Haq and 197 Palestinian, regional and international civil society organisations (CSOs) sent open letters to the ICC Prosecutor Mr Karim A. A. Khan KC and the ASP President Ms Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi. The letter sent to the ICC Prosecutor Khan calls on him to investigate and deter Israeli apartheid regime’s crimes in Palestine...

« On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
96 Organizations Stand with Palestinian Political Prisoners »

Addameer - Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, November 29, 2022 :
This International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Addameer calls on the international community to demonstrate support for Palestinian political prisoners, both directly with the actions of the Palestinian Prisoner Movement, as well as through demanding an end to the Israeli occupation authorities’ arbitrary policies and practices of deprivation of liberty; administrative detention, inhumane prison conditions and a crackdown on civil society activism, all of which serve to construct and maintain the Israeli apartheid regime...
Full text (with the list of organizations, in pdf, 7p.): click here!

« Israeli District Court extends solitary confinement of Palestinian youth prisoner Ahmad Manasra
by additional four months based on secret evidence »

Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (24 November 2022 (pdf, 106p.) :
"Manasra, a resident of East Jerusalem, began serving a nine-and-a-half-year prison sentence as a minor, at the age of 14, after being convicted of attempted murder in an incident that took place when he was 13 years old. During his time in prison, Manasra’s, mental health has severely deteriorated and he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. According to doctors, Manasra’s condition requires immediate specialist medical attention outside prison..."
#FreeAhmadManasra (change.org, Nov 30: 440,282 have already signed).

« The Permit Regime: Testimonies »
Gisha - Legal Center for Freedom of Movement (July 28, 2022) :
Palestinian residents of Gaza attest to the bureaucratic violence inherent in Israel’s permit regime. The bureaucracy developed by Israel to control the Palestinian population living under occupation puts millions of people at the mercy of decisions made by Israeli military authorities and security agencies. It is an invisible, insidious system which permeates every aspect of day-to-day life, yet it rarely, if ever, makes headlines or captures public attention...

 
 
Academics Against Israel Scholasticide:
  • Shahd Safi: « In Gaza, Students’ Heavy Endeavors are Going in Vain » (The Palestine Chronicle, November 25, 2022): click here!
    From the 1948 Nakba, the Naksa of 1967 to now, many Palestinians have been forced to live as refugees, facing dire social and financial difficulties. Education is their only hope for survival. But so many families can’t afford the expenses associated with college and university.
  • Committee on Academic Freedom: « COGAT regulations’ impact on international scholar selection » (MESA, October 20, 2022): click here!
    Letter sent on 20 October 2022 to:  Israel PM Yair Lapid, Minister of Education Yifat Shasha-Biton, Minister of Justice Gideon Sa'ar, Brigadier-General Ghasan Alyan, Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Chief Clerk Idit Malul, Supreme Court of the State of Israel.
  • Yumna Patel & Michael Arria: « Israeli restrictions on foreign travel into occupied West Bank take effect despite criticisms » (Mondoweiss, October 20, 2022): click here!
    A draconian set of Israeli restrictions on foreign travel into the occupied West Bank take effect today, despite months of condemnations by rights groups and legal efforts to stop them.
  • Awdah Hathaleen: "In Masafer Yatta, teachers like me can’t guarantee our students an education" (+972, November 15, 2022): click here!
    With schools facing demolition orders and soldiers detaining students and teachers for hours, obstacles to education are becoming insurmountable.
  • Hamoked Center for the Defence of the Individual: "New Israeli Procedure on Entry of Foreigners to the West Bank" (Briefing paper September 2022): click here!
    Interference with Palestinian Civil Society and Academic Freedom: In the new procedure, the Israeli Defense Ministry gives itself the prerogative to set academic qualifications for lecturers. Faculty and student visas can only be renewed for a maximum of 27 months, and then a person would have to leave the West Bank before applying for a new visa. There is no possibility to offer tenure to foreign faculty, as after a cumulative stay of five years, a foreign lecturer must remain abroad for nine months before they can re-enter the West Bank... It should also be noted that this procedure would not apply to foreigners who wish to travel to Israeli settlements in the West Bank. For example, foreign lecturers and students at Ariel University in the Ariel settlement will continue to be governed by the much more lenient regulations set by Israel’s Ministry of Interior.
  • Maureen Clare Murphy: "“Racial engineering” behind Israel’s new West Bank entry restrictions" (The Electronic Intifada, 26 Sept, 2022): click here!
    The 97-page procedure serves Israel’s “racial engineering” of the population in the West Bank “within the framework of its apartheid regime, which constitutes a crime against humanity,” according to a coalition of Palestinian human rights groups... Those seeking to work or study in the West Bank “must apply for an entry visa 45, 60, or even up to 153 days before arrival as well as provide an extensive questionnaire on their CV [resume], and any familial or spousal connections in the West Bank,” according to the coalition of rights groups.
  • Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC): "International Community Must Take Prompt and Concrete Measures to Halt Israel’s New Procedure for Entry and Residence of Foreigners in the West Bank" (Al Mezan, 8 Sept, 2022): click here!
    The Israeli occupying authorities have imposed further restrictions on the entry of foreign nationals and Palestinians who hold foreign passports and wish to work, volunteer, join their Palestinian family members or act in solidarity with the Palestinian people in the oPt. The constraints of the new procedure, which was published on 4 September 2022 and will enter into force on 20 October 2022, also apply to foreign nationals whose work requires that they stay for any length of time in the West Bank (excluding occupied Jerusalem).
  • Neve Gordon: « Palestinian universities are once again under attack » (AlJazeera, July 15, 2022): click here!
    And as they fight for their survival under apartheid rule, they are receiving no real solidarity from their Israeli counterparts. Later this month, the Israeli authorities are expected to put into effect a 97-page ordinance, called "Procedure for Entry and Residence for Foreigners in Judea and Samaria Area", which would grant the Israeli Ministry of Defence and thus, the military, absolute power to determine how many and which foreign academics and students can visit, study or work at all 15 Palestinian universities and colleges in the West Bank... In an arguably unprecedented move, the General Assembly of the Hebrew University sent an official letter to the Israeli military commander of the West Bank, emphasising the problematic restrictions set out in the procedure...
  • « Academic Freedom & Palestinian Universities in the Occupied West Bank. » Letter to the Israeli authorities by Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (English translation, Adalah's News, 30 June 2022, pdf, 10p.): click here!
    Over the past two months, Adalah's team has worked to protect Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line against Israel's growing attempts to restrict and control their education systems, in violation of their rights to education, freedom of expression and self-determination. Adalah sent a letter on behalf of Birzeit University to the Attorney General and the Israeli army on 26 May 2022 demanding that the procedures be amended and that many of the restrictions be lifted, and to allow Palestinian universities to submit applications for residence permits for foreign lecturers and students rather than requiring individuals to make requests. Israeli universities enjoy wide institutional autonomy and decision-making power in recruiting foreign academic staff and in accepting foreign students, and facilitating their entry and stay.
  • BZU CALL TO ACTION: “BIRZEIT UNIVERSITY REJECTS ISRAELI MEASURES AGAINST ACADEMIC FREEDOM” (BZU, March 12, 2022): click here! Version in pdf: click here!
    Birzeit University rejects Israel’s most recent attempt to constrict the fundamental right of Palestinians to education and to undermine the academic freedom and autonomy of Palestinian universities. Scheduled to take effect in May, 2022, the “Procedure for Entry and Residency of Foreigners in Judea and Samaria Region” grants Israeli military immense powers to isolate Palestinian universities from the outside world, and to determine the future course of Palestinian higher education. The new directive invests the Israeli military the absolute right to select which international faculty, academic researchers and students may be present at Palestinian universities, as well as impose their own arbitrary criteria on which fields of study are permissible and what qualifications are acceptable.
  • "Atteintes graves à la liberté académique en Palestine" (Le Soir, le 6 avril, 2022): click here!
    L’Université palestinienne Birzeit, en Cisjordanie, s’inquiète d’une nouvelle procédure du ministère israélien de la défense qui entrera en vigueur à partir du mois de mai. Cette procédure permettra à l’armée israélienne de décider quels professeurs et étudiants, et en quel nombre, pourront venir chaque année enseigner ou étudier dans les universités palestiniennes. « Il s’agit d’une violation du droit à l’éducation », selon l’appel lancé par l’Université de Birzeit.
  • “Letter protesting new Israel Government directive regarding selection of international scholars and students to teach and study in Palestinian Universities ” (MESA, April 5, 2022): click here!
    "Dear Prime Minister, Ministers, Brigadier-General, and Chief Clerk, We write to you on behalf of the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) to protest Israel’s recently released directive, “Procedure for Entry and Residency of Foreigners in Judea and Samaria Region,” scheduled to take effect as policy in May 2022. Released by COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories), the policy vests the Israeli military with the unilateral power to select and exclude international faculty, academic researchers, and students who wish to teach, study, and conduct research at Palestinian universities. We regard this as both an attempt to isolate Palestinian scholars and students from the international scholarly community and a form of censorship aimed at constraining the freedom of speech and association of international academics and students by denying them access to and engagement with Palestinian scholars and students, as well as professional and educational opportunities at Palestinian universities. We condemn this proposed policy in the strongest terms as a clear escalation of the persistent efforts of your government to deny Palestinians the right to education."
  • “Stop de Israëlische belegering van Palestijnse universiteiten” (MO*, 31 maart 2022): click here!
    De Palestijnse Birzeit Universiteit op de Westelijke Jordaanoever is bezorgd om een nieuwe procedure van het Israëlische ministerie van Defensie (COGAT) die vanaf mei ingaat. Die zou strenger gaan beoordelen welke en hoeveel docenten en studenten jaarlijks aan Palestijnse universiteiten mogen komen lesgeven of studeren. ‘Een inbreuk op het recht op onderwijs is dit’, klinkt het. Belgische academici ondersteunen de oproep.
  • “Statement on Israel’s Latest Repression of Palestinian Universities” (USACBI, March, 2022): click here!
    We express our strong opposition to Israel’s most recent attempt to restrict Palestinian rights to education and to undermine the freedom and autonomy of Palestinian academic institutions. Scheduled to take effect in May 2022, the “Procedure for Entry and Residency of Foreigners in Judea and Samaria Region” grants the Israeli military absolute powers to select which international faculty, academic researchers and students can be admitted to teach or study at Palestinian universities. Under this law, Israeli authorities will be in the position of determining which fields of study are permissible and what qualifications are acceptable. Further, it requires applicants to submit to Israeli investigation at diplomatic missions in countries of origin. Finally, it sets a limit on the number of foreign teachers and students (100 and 150 per year, respectively) and limits the duration of employment to five non-consecutive years, effectively denying the hiring and promotion of faculty, and with immediate effects for current faculty and students who do not hold residency permits. This includes many Palestinians, who will lose their jobs, their access to education, and their rights to live in their homeland. The new directive also would effectively end all student exchanges. In short, it is an all-out assault on Palestinian academic freedom and collaborative intellectual exchange. In the words of Birzeit University, it “puts Palestinian Universities under siege and divests them of basic control over their academic decisions."
  • Haaretz Editorial: "Resist Israel's Academic Occupation of the Palestinians" (Haaretz, March 10, 2022): click here!
    An officer in the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories will soon rule that a certain college instructor, a U.S. citizen, cannot enter the West Bank to teach at a university in Jenin because her area of expertise is not an “essential field” for Palestinians. The field will be determined in accordance with a COGAT ruling.
  • Nasim AHMED: "Israel deciding who can teach at Palestinian universities is another nail on the apartheid regime" (MEMo, March 10, 2022): click here!
  • Amira HASS: "À Israël de décider pour les Palestiniens quels enseignants étrangers peuvent enseigner dans les universités de Cisjordanie" (Haaretz, trad. AURDIP, 10 mars 2022): cliquez-ici!
    Un ensemble de procédures publié par le ministère de la Défense impose de nouvelles restrictions sur la sélection de qui peut entrer, travailler et rester en Cisjordanie. Israël permettra aux institutions palestiniennes d’enseignement supérieur d’employer des enseignants venus de l’étranger seulement s’ils enseignent dans des domaines qui ont été désignés comme essentiels par Israël et seulement si ces enseignants et chercheurs sont accomplis et possèdent au moins un doctorat, selon un nouvel ensemble de procédures du ministre de la Défense.
  • Mohammed NAJIB: "Palestinian students, professors report harm of Israeli restrictions on campus" (Arab News, March 9, 2022): click here!
    Birzeit University hosts between 10 to 15 visiting professors, and all of them face the problem of visa renewals.
  • Amira HASS: " Israel to Decide for Palestinians Which Foreign Lecturers Can Teach at West Bank Universities. A set of procedures published by the Defense Ministry puts further restrictions on who can enter, work and stay in the West Bank" (Haaretz, March 8, 2022): click here!
    Israel will permit Palestinian institutions of higher education to employ lecturers from overseas only if they teach in fields that have been designated as essential by Israel, and only if the lecturers and researchers are accomplished and possess at least a doctorate, according to a new set of procedures by the Defense Ministry.
  • Adalah: “Israel forcing international lecturers out of West Bank Palestinian universities” (Adalah, April 20, 2021): click here!
    Birzeit University, Adalah, Al-Haq now fighting to end escalating discriminatory Israeli policy aimed at preventing international academics from staying in the West Bank and refusing to renew visas for those with teaching contracts .
  • "Birzeit University continues to lose international faculty as Israel persists in discriminatory policy" (BirZeit University, Nov 14, 2019): click here!
    Heightened restrictions on Birzeit University's right to hire and maintain international faculty persist into the 2019-2020 academic year. Israel has escalated what can only be understood as a policy whose ultimate goal is the elimination of any international faculty presence at Palestinian universities. Our 14,800 students returned to classes on 4 September with a third of their international faculty missing, the Israeli authorities having denied them entry or forced their departure by refusing them any viable means to stay in the country or return. The status of international faculty able to make it to campus remains extremely precarious; 60% have lapsed or only short-term visas due to expire before the end of the first semester. In short, except for a handful of instructorsunder foreign government fellowships or programs, all of our international faculty currently in the country are under constant threat of deportation.
  • Amira HASS: "Israel is turning Palestinian students into criminals" (+972, Oct 11, 2019): click here!
    According to data collected by Right to Education, a grassroots campaign aimed at defending education in Palestine, Israeli forces have detained at least 64 university students since the start of this year. A spokesperson at Addameer, a Palestinian prisoners’ rights organization, told +972 that Israel has been targeting an increasing number of Palestinian students since the start of 2019. There are currently 260 Palestinian high school and university students in Israeli prisons. Of the 18 Birzeit students who were arrested in August, Israel has released only three.
  • Jaclynn ASHLEY: "Israel is turning Palestinian students into criminals" (+972, Oct 11, 2019): click here!
    According to data collected by Right to Education, a grassroots campaign aimed at defending education in Palestine, Israeli forces have detained at least 64 university students since the start of this year. A spokesperson at Addameer, a Palestinian prisoners’ rights organization, told +972 that Israel has been targeting an increasing number of Palestinian students since the start of 2019. There are currently 260 Palestinian high school and university students in Israeli prisons. Of the 18 Birzeit students who were arrested in August, Israel has released only three.
  • Amira HASS: “Israeli university heads say won’t intervene in discrimination against Palestinian schools" (Haaretz, Aug 28, 2019): click here!
    Committee says refusal to grant visas to guest lecturers is not in its purview. Hundreds of academics ask top officials to match guidelines at West Bank institutions to those at Israeli ones.
  • David PALUMBO-LIU: "Israel’s restrictions on international academics at Palestinian universities must be opposed" (Times Higher Education, July 27, 2019): click here!
    While the denial of visas to international scholars might seem a small inconvenience by comparison, put into the context of the overall weakened conditions of Palestinian schools and universities, as well as the totality of deprivation the Palestinians suffer under, it is a terrible thing indeed. The international community, especially the international academic community, needs to wake up.
  • Amira HASS: "Israel's Academy for Indifference" (Haaretz, July 15, 2019): click here!
    Why should Israeli professors and students care that their country is subverting the academic freedom of Palestinian universities and interfering with their hiring of foreign lecturers? This routine Israeli interference with the ordinary life of Palestinian universities doesn’t interest presidents, faculty deans or senior lecturers of Israeli universities, nor their student population. Their voices are not heard despite the fact that the meddling of the Interior Ministry and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories in granting visas to academics and students headed for the Palestinian enclaves began long ago, and has only exacerbated over the last three years.
  • Amira HASS: "As Israel Tightens Entry Rules, Foreign Lecturers at Palestinian Universities Forced to Leave" (Haaretz, July 13, 2019): click here!
    Short-term tourist visas and refusals to extend them are routine obstacles, but the West Bank's Birzeit University is now fighting back... Israel's scholasticide policies are clearly driven by "the desire to weaken our institutions and destroy the Palestinian future. When they fight against the quality of the Palestinian academic institution, they’re weakening our future”.
  • BZU, Adalah & Al-Haq: "Israel forcing international lecturers out of West Bank Palestinian universities" (July 11, 2019): click here!
    Birzeit University, Adalah, Al-Haq are now fighting to end escalating discriminatory Israeli policy aimed at preventing international academics from staying in the West Bank and refusing to renew visas for those with teaching contracts. In a letter sent on 30 April 2019 to Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, Israeli Chief Military Advocate General Sharon Afek, and the Israeli military's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Kamil Abu Rokon, Birzeit University, Al-Haq, and Adalah demand that Israel: lift the restrictions preventing international academics employed by Birzeit University from staying and working in the West Bank; refrain from imposing arbitrary restrictions on the duration of stay or extension of stay for international academics; order the publication of a clear and lawful procedure for issuing entry visas and work permits for international academics in the West Bank, which will enable the university to manage and maintain its academic freedom. Adalah Deputy General Director Attorney Sawsan Zaher, who drafted the letter to Israeli authorities, said: "Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip – like all other peoples around the world – are entitled to exercise their right to academic freedom as part of their right to self-determination. The Israeli military occupation cannot prevent Palestinians from exercising this right". Indeed, according to the interpretation applied to Article 43 of the Hague Regulations of 1907, sovereignty of education does not change hands - it is inalienable - and must remain in the hands of the occupied Palestinian population.
  • Brendan O'MALLEY: "Israel 'blocks international academics' in West Bank, Gaza" (University World News, 11 July 2019): click here!
  • Maureen Clare MURPHY: "Israel isolates Palestinian universities" (The Electronic Intifada, 11 July 2019): click here!
    Israel is isolating Palestinian universities by forcing international scholars to leave their academic positions in the occupied West Bank. Two Palestinian human rights groups, as well as Birzeit University, are calling on Israel to lift restrictions preventing international academics from working in the West Bank and to publish “a clear and lawful procedure for issuing entry visas and work permits.” Israel’s policy of denying internationals entry to the West Bank, as well as refusing and failing to process visa extension applications in a timely manner, has affected dozens of scholars working at Palestinian universities.
  • Yumna PATEL: "Palestinian universities fight back against Israel forcing international academics out of the country" (Mondoweiss, 11 July 2019): click here!
    Birzeit, which has ranked within the top three percent of universities worldwide, is fighting back. The highly acclaimed university, hand in hand with legal rights groups Adalah and Al-Haq, is "demanding an immediate halt to this policy targeting Palestinian academic freedom and isolating Palestinian institutions of higher learning," the groups said in a press release on Thursday. "Blocking our right to engage international academics is part of an ongoing effort by the Israeli occupation to marginalize Palestinian institutions of higher education," Birzeit University President Abdullatif Abuhijleh said in a statement. "The latest escalation in visa restrictions is just one in a longstanding and systematic Israeli policy of undermining the independence and viability of Palestinian higher education institutions."
  • Adalah: "Letter Re: Canceling visa restrictions on foreign academics hired to teach at Birzeit University" (Adalah, April 30, 2019, pdf, 9p.): click here!
    Letter sent to: Mr. Avichai Mandelblit, Attorney General of Israel, Mr. Kamil Abu Rokon, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Mr. Sharon Afek, Chief Military Advocate General, Mr. Aryeh Deri, Minister of Interior.
  • Judith E.TUCKER: "MESA: Israeli Arrests of Palestinian Students and Professors, Israeli Assaults on Palestinian Campuses" (Informed Comment, Jan 25, 2019): click here!
    Dear Prime Minister, Ministers, and Major, We write to you on behalf of the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) to urge a halt to the Israeli army and security forces conducting arbitrary arrests at and incursions into Palestinian universities, assaulting students, faculty, and staff, and obstructing the education of thousands of students. We also condemn in the strongest possible terms the Israeli Army’s harm to students at all levels of education through these arrests and incursions.
  • American University of Beirut (AUB): "Announcement" (Office of the President, Jan 24 2019, pdf): click here!
    Earlier in January, the university was informed by representatives of the US government that students from the West Bank and Gaza would no longer be eligible for comprehensive scholarships under its US - Middle East Partnership Initiative - Tomorrow’s Leaders (MEPI-TL) program and that their funding would cease effectively January 31, 2019. It was explained that suspension of assistance to all projects in the Palestinian Authority and to citizens of those areas was an unintended consequence of the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act of 2018 (ATCA) passed by Congress on October 3 last year.
  • Sari BASHI: "Israel's truthiness on Palestinian academic freedom" (+972, Jan 13, 2019): click here!
    In denying that Israel limits academic freedom in Palestine, the Israeli embassy in Washington seems to forget about the Palestinian students and academics whose movement it restricts.
  • Or KASHTI: "Israeli Ministry Fails to Offer Arabic Preparatory Course for University Entrance Exam" (Haaretz, Jan 2, 2019): click here!
    Ministry promised online course would 'give equal opportunity for all citizens,' but rights group says it 'perpetuates gaps' by putting Arabs at a disadvantage.
  • "Israeli Forces Raid Al-Quds University" (The Palestine Chronicle, Dec 12, 2018): click here!
    Israeli forces raided the al-Quds University, on Wednesday, in Abu Dis village, southeast of the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem. Local sources confirmed that a large number of heavily armed Israeli forces raided the campus, ransacking several faculties and offices, causing material damages.
  • Robert BOYCE, "Scholasticide: Israel's attempt to destroy Palestine's universities" (BRICUP, Nov 2018, pdf, 9p.): click here!
    Supporters of the academic boycott of Israel are frequently told it's wrong in principle to boycott universities since they are bastions of free speech, and it's downright perverse to boycott Israeli universities since they are islands of liberal opinion in an otherwise reactionary country...
  • Sophia BROWN, "Israel's assault on Palestinian universities is a threat to human rights and a tragedy for this generation of students" (The Independent, Oct 21, 2018): click here!
    Palestine has had to contend with Israel's systematic obstruction of education: from enforced closures, campus raids, and the oppression of individual students and teachers, including arbitrary arrests and detention without trial.
  • "Fobzu joins with education unions in calling on the UK government to stand up for Palestinian universities" (Friends of Birzeit University, Oct 15, 2018): click here!
    On Monday 15th October, Fobzu and representatives of the major education unions – including UCU, NEU, NASUWT, EIS and UNISON – wrote to Minister of State for the Middle East, The Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP to call on the UK government to stand up for Palestinian students and educators. Responding to the growing restrictions on foreign national faculty working at universities in the occupied West Bank, we raised our collective concern about the declining access to the occupied Palestinian territory and the impact this is having on Palestinian education.
  • "Campagne menée dans les universités belges en solidarité avec l'Université de BirZeit: Lettre modèle envoyée aux recteurs belges" (2018, pdf, 6p.): click here!
    "Monsieur le Recteur, Au nom des signataires de la présente lettre je vous fais part d'un appel à bien vouloir entendre et diffuser le plus largement possible le cri d'alarme émanant de l'Université de Birzeit,...".
  • "Campagne aan de Belgische universiteiten in solidariteit met BirZeit University: Brief toegezonden aan de Vlaamse rectoren" (27 september 2018, pdf, 7p.): click here!
    "Geachte Rectoren, In naam van de ondergetekenden sturen wij u een oproep om aan de noodkreet vanuit de Palestijnse Birzeit Universiteit gehoor en weerklank te geven en een krachtig signaal uit te sturen tegen het feit dat de Israëlische autoriteiten de universiteiten en hogescholen in de Bezette Palestijnse Gebieden steeds verder internationaal isoleren en aldus de academische vrijheid van onze collega’s beknotten...."
  • "Belgian academic campaign in solidarity with Birzeit University: Letter sent to the Belgian university presidents" (form letter, draft, pdf, 7p.): click here!
    "Dear President, On behalf of the endorsers of this letter, we would like to urge you to access and disseminate as widely as possible the urgent call from Birzeit University, and to send a strong signal against the alarming academic isolation imposed by the Israeli authorities on Palestinian universities in the Occupied Territories."
  • "Letter from BRISMES protesting against Israeli violations of Palestinian academic freedom" (BRISMES): click here!
    "Dear Prime Minister and Ministers, I am writing on behalf of the British Society for Middle East Studies (BRISMES) to protest against Israeli violations of Palestinian academic freedom..." (The letter) has been forwarded to Prof. Ghassan Khatib at Birzeit university to support its campaign of protest against the enforced departure of academics from Palestinian campuses
  • Raja SHEHADEH, "Israeli restrictions on overseas academics are holding Palestinian universities back" (The World University Rankings, Sept 13, 2018): click here!
    A labyrinthine visa process and perverse decision-making are making life increasingly untenable for non-Palestinian academics.
  • MESA, Committee on Academic Freedom: "Arbitrary demands on foreign national academics working in Palestinian universities" (MESA, Aug 6, 2018): click here!
    "Dear Prime Minister and Ministers, We write to you on behalf of the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) to express our dismay regarding the severe and unreasonable limitations imposed on foreign nationals who are faculty members at Birzeit University (BZU) and other Palestinian universities in the West Bank and Gaza...".
  • Daphna GOLAN, "The Destruction of Palestinian Universities" (Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace, July 29, 2018): click here!
    Destroying Palestinian Universities. Foreign lecturers as well as Palestinian lecturers who studied or taught abroad are being expelled from West Bank academic institutes with a form of bureaucratic violence.
  • "Call to Action by Academic Networks, Global Civil Society & Individuals, August 2018" (Right to Enter, pdf): click here!
    "We call on concerned individuals, organizations and networks to intensify their efforts to advocate for Palestinians' fundamental right to education and academic freedom as well as the right freedom of movement and to hold the governments of Israel, third States and the Palestinian National Authority to their respective obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law".
  • Rania ZABANEH, "Foreign residents in Palestinian territories denied visa renewals" (Al-Jazeera, July 13, 2018): click here!
    Israel is increasingly rejecting applications to renew residency visas and families face being split up. Four suitcases, memories of 35 years and a hope to meet friends again, in Palestine, are what US citizens Roger Heacock and Laura Wick are leaving Ramallah with. The couple arrived to Palestine in 1983, initially planning to stay for a few years in solidarity. But they ended up with a family and a career here: Heacock is a renowned history professor and Wick is a midwife and health researcher at Birzeit University.
  • "Birzeit University condemns breach of academic freedom after academics forced to leave Palestine" (BZU, July 12, 2018): click here!
    Since the beginning of the current academic year (2017-2018), scores of foreign passport holders, many of Palestinian origin but without residence documents, living and working in the occupied Palestinian territory have been denied entry in the country, or have had their visa renewal applications refused by the Israeli authorities. At Birzeit University alone, we have 15 foreign passport-holding faculty members whose requests for visa renewals have been refused or significantly delayed. Contact: Ghassan Khatib.
  • Ruhan NAGRA: “Academia Undermined: Israeli Restrictions on Foreign National Academics in Palestinian Higher Education Institutions.” Field research by Ruhan Nagra. (Right to Enter, May 2013, pdf, 24 pp.): click here!
    This report focuses on only one of the many problems related to movement and access restrictions that affect the quality of and access to education in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt): the implications of Israeli restrictions on entry and residency for foreign academics wishing to serve at institutes of higher education operating in the oPt. It is important to note that the term “foreign” is something of a misnomer: Israel treats all individuals without an Israeli-issued identity card [“hawiyya”] as a foreigner even if they are of Palestinian origin and even if they and/or their parents are born in Palestine. Thus “foreign” academics refers to anyone who does not hold a Palestinian identity card and must therefore enter the oPt on a foreign passport regardless of whether or not they are of Palestinian origin. “Foreign” academics or “foreign” nationals could therefore be of Palestinian origin (as is frequently the case) or have no Palestinian roots.
  • “Scholasticide” – the systematic destruction by Israeli forces of centres of education" (RIGHT2EDUCATION, Birzeit University, January 10, 2009): click here!
    A new word emerged from the carnage in Gaza this week: “scholasticide” – the systematic destruction by Israeli forces of centres of education dear to Palestinian society, as the ministry of education was bombed, the infrastructure of teaching destroyed, and schools across the Gaza strip targeted for attack by the air, sea and ground offensives. “Learn, baby, learn” was a slogan of the black rights movement in America’s ghettoes a generation ago, but it also epitomises the idea of education as the central pillar of Palestinian identity – a traditional premium on schooling steeled by occupation, and something the Israelis “cannot abide… and seek to destroy”, according to Dr Karma Nabulsi, who teaches politics at St Edmund Hall, Oxford.
 
 
Actions, Campaigns, Petitions:
  • Basil AL-ADRAA: "Hamas’ landslide student election win marks major shift in Palestinian politics"" (+972, May 31, 2022): click here!
    The Islamist movement's stunning victory in Birzeit University’s student union vote reflects growing discontent with the West Bank's ruling Fatah party. - The annual elections at Birzeit are widely regarded as a reflection of the broader political mood in the Palestinian street in the occupied West Bank. The university did not hold elections for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making this the first round since 2019. Out of around 12,500 students at the university, four out of five voted in the latest elections, held on May 18, with the voter turnout similar to the rounds in previous years.
  • Petition: "Academics: Israel must allow Gaza students to travel abroad" (Gisha petition, action closed): click here!
    To the Government of Israel, According to information received from the human rights organization Gisha, it has come to our attention that since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, Israel has blocked Palestinian students from Gaza from exiting the Strip via Erez Crossing to reach academic studies abroad. As faculty members at academic institutions around the world, we strongly oppose this infringement on students’ fundamental rights. We call on the Government of Israel to take immediate action to allow students to exit Gaza via Erez Crossing. Access to education is a fundamental human right. Access to higher education, in all academic fields, is a prerequisite for young people to develop personal and professional skills, expand their horizons, and realize their personal ambitions.
  • "Call for Action: Protect Ras Al'uja School from Demolition!" Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign (Sept 28, 2020): click here!
    As across the world schools are slowly opening again after COVID19 lockdowns, we call on you to ensure in Palestine schools are not demolished. Palestinians are sounding the alarm over the potential demolition of a newly built school in Ras Al'uja Bedouin community, the Jordan Valley, by the Israeli occupation authorities.
  • "Letter from European researchers and academics concerning Israel's participation in Horizon Europe" (ECCP, June 16, 2020): click here!
    "As both professionals directly involved in research and members of civil society, we appeal to the EU to mobilize all diplomatic means to pressure Israel to comply with International Law. The move to unilateral annexation is the decisive act of defiance that should be met with sanctions, not with words. In the face of the imminent threat of annexation that would formally establish Israeli sovereignty over stolen territories, we reiterate that the EU should exclude Israel from EU Research Programmes, suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement and implement a comprehensive arms embargo against Israel. Exclusion of Israel and Israeli companies accused of war crimes from the research programmes is the absolute minimum needed as a first measure against Israel’s’ violations of international law. As the exclusion of a country from EU Research Programmes does not require a unanimous decision of the European Council and falls under the responsibility of the European Commission and the Parliament, we urgently appeal to you to uphold justice by implementing this first step which is within your power."
  • "BDS veroordeelt antisemitische, fascistische krachten in Duitsland en de rest van de wereld" (Palestijns Nationaal BDS Comité, 28 aug 2019): click here!
    De BDS-beweging voor Palestijnse rechten veroordeelt in de meest krachtige bewoordingen de opkomende racistische en fascistische groeperingen in Duitsland en in heel Europa. Onze geweldloze beweging verzet zich principieel tegen alle vormen van racisme en rassendiscriminatie, waaronder antisemitisme en islamofobie.
  • "Guarantee full freedom of movement for international academics working at Palestinian academic institutions!" (petition, google form, Academia for Equality): click here!
  • "European researchers and academics protest involvement of Israeli arms companies in EU research programs" (ECCP, June 5, 2019): click here!
  • "240 Israel and Jewish professors urge Germany not to enforce anti-BDS law" (Middle East Monitor, June 12, 2019): click here!
  • "Open letter of Israeli academics and artists warning against equating anti-Zionism with Antisemitism, and against giving Israel immunity for grave violations of human rights and international law" (Nov 2, 2018, pdf, 5p.): click here!
 
 
Coordinating Committee:
Karel Arnaut (KU Leuven), Marie-Christine Closon (UCLouvain), Patrick Deboosere (VUB), Lieven De Cauter (KU Leuven), Herman De Ley (UGent), Marc De Meyere (UGent), Serge Deruette (UMONS), Lieve Franssen (dirigent Brussels Brecht-Eislerkoor), Michel Gevers (UCLouvain), Carl Gydé (directeur CAMPO), Madeline Lutjeharms (VUB), Perrine Humblet (ULB), Marc Jacquemain (Université de Liège), Raven Ruëll (régisseur), Nozomi Takahashi (UGent), Karin Verelst (VUB/RITCS).
Contact: click here!
 

Current Affairs:

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