Palestinian academics act against Israel ties
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
Al-Quds University President Dr. Sari Nusseibeh is once again under attack for agreeing to cooperate with Israeli universities and academics.
Palestinian academics on Tuesday published a statement strongly criticizing Nusseibeh for being part of a German-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian academic project aimed at enhancing understanding between different cultures.
The project has been initiated by al-Quds University and the Hebrew University in cooperation with The University of Berlin.
The academics denounced the project as a form of normalization with Israel and pointed out that cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian academics was in violation of a ban issued by the Palestinian Council for Higher Education.
The academics also noted that the joint project was in violation of local and international campaigns promoting academic boycotts of Israel.
In their statement, the Palestinian academics urged Nusseibeh to end all forms of “normalization” with Israeli universities until Israel “ends its occupation.”
The statement added: “While we praise the important role of al-Quds University as a national icon, we call on the university and its president to abide by the position of most Palestinian academics against normalization with the state of apartheid and occupation.”
The statement also noted that Nusseibeh’s cooperation in the past with Hebrew University had thwarted a decision by British academics to initiate a boycott of Israeli universities and professors.
“Normalization projects are today the strongest weapon employed by Israel in its battle – which has been unsuccessful so far – against anti-Israel boycott campaigns,” the statement read.
Late last year, Nusseibeh came under attack from various Palestinians, including top Fatah leaders, for planning to meet with Israeli peace activists at a hotel in east Jerusalem.
The meeting was canceled after Palestinian protesters demonstrated outside the hotel and put pressure on the hotel management to call off the gathering.
Since then, the protesters have been waging a campaign against Nusseibeh, accusing him of promoting “normalization” with Israel. They have also repeatedly called on the Palestinian Authority to dismiss Nusseibeh from his job.