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Boycott Calls Against Israel
The Palestinian Ministry of Education Campaign to International Academic Community: Ariel University non-Recognition and non-Collaboration

 

 
 
05.02.20
Editorial Note

The Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education has addressed the international academic community, urging scholars and institutions to reject cooperation with Ariel University. The campaign, titled "No Academic Business as Usual with Ariel University and all other Israeli Academic Institutions Illegally Built on Occupied Palestinian Land,” was also joined by the Council of Palestinian Universities' Presidents and the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees. It was first published on November 29, 2018, calling on states, academic institutions and research bodies to end institutional relations with Ariel University and "other Israeli academic institutions illegally built on occupied Palestinian land."

The campaign cited B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization, as stating that Ariel was seized “under the false pretext of imperative military needs and on land that was declared state land.”  The Palestinian call has recently resurfaced. 
 
The campaign states that Ariel University is expected to double its size in the next 5 years, due to the 20-million-dollar donation from philanthropist Sheldon Adelson. To recall, the Adelson Family Foundation has contributed to the founding of a new medical school at Ariel University. According to Ariel University, the purpose of the new medical school is "To meet Israel’s critical shortage of physicians and other health professionals." The medical school would be complemented by a new Regional Medical Center, a first of its kind in the area, to provide top-notch health services, not only to the Ariel area but also to all the residents in the region. 
 
The campaign urges states, institutions, and scholars to avoid being "complicit in illegality", by "Refraining from accrediting or recognizing any diplomas or qualifications conferred by Ariel University" and urges "universities, conferences and workshops not to host individual academics from Ariel University unless their affiliation is properly indicated as 'Ariel University, illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory' in conference material." Likewise, with journals and presses.
 
The International Advisory Board, for the "Ariel University non-recognition and non-collaboration" campaign, includes Prof. David Harel of Weizmann Institute. As stated by the organizers, the Advisory Board members provide "strategic input and serve as public advocates of the campaign." 
 
At the same time, Academia for Equality, a group of Israeli radical academics, has posted a letter by Israeli psychologists and social workers refusing to participate in a series of seminars organized by Ariel University. The group of signatories includes Dr. Ruchama Merton and Israeli radical academics such as Prof. Uri Hadar, Dr. Kim Yuval, and Dr. Julia Chaitin, among the 68 signatories.
 
In February 2019, the Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies (SeSaMO) responded to the call from the Palestinian academic world to refuse to recognize Ariel University. 

There is more than a fair share of hypocrisy in the Palestinian call for boycotting Ariel University and its future regional medical facility.    In fact, when the Palestinian leadership needs medical treatment for themselves or for members of their families they turn to Israeli hospitals. It stands to reason that Palestinians will also benefit from the Ariel University Regional Medical Center, as they do with other Israeli hospitals and health services.  For example, wounded Palestinian suicide bombers are treated without prejudice by Israeli doctors in hospitals, alongside their victims.
 
Boycotting Ariel University is illegal in Israel since the anti-Boycott Law was enacted.  The Israeli proponents of the Ariel University boycott should be aware of this. 







פסיכולוגיות ופסיכולוגים שבריאות הנפש נדהמו לגלות שמשרד הבריאות בחר להטיל את ארגון סדרת ההשתלמויות בפסיכולוגיה רגישת תרבות על אוניברסיטת אריאל. פסיכולוגים רבים חותמו על מכתב מחאה שמספיר למשרד הבריאות ש״אוניברסיטת אריאל ממוקמת בהתנחלות באזור הנמצא תחת שליטתו של הצבא הישראלי. החיים תחת משטר צבאי בשטחים הם חיים הכוללים הפרות יומיומיות של כל זכויות האדם כולל הזכות לחיים ולמשפט הוגן״. חוסר רגישות תרבות? איוורון גמור? או עוד ניסיון לנרמל את הסטטוס של אריאל?







=============================================================



NO ACADEMIC BUSINESS AS USUAL WITH ARIEL UNIVERSITY

Supporting the Palestinian call to end ties with Israeli academic institutions in illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land

  Ariel University Non-Recognition Campaign International Support Statement  

No Academic Business as Usual with Ariel University and all other Israeli Academic Institutions Illegally Built on Occupied Palestinian Land
 

International academics are invited to show their support for the call from authoritative Palestinian higher education bodies for non-recognition of and non-collaboration with illegal Israeli settlement-based Ariel University by endorsing the following statement. To add your signature, please complete the form below.

We, the undersigned international academics, support the call from the Palestinian Ministry of Education, the Council of Palestinian Universities’ Presidents, the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) and the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) not to recognize and to refrain from relations with Ariel University and all other Israeli academic institutions built in illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land. 

As an act of effective solidarity with our Palestinian colleagues, we pledge to refuse any collaboration with Ariel University as an institution, or with any of its bodies. Ariel University is an illegal institution, built on stolen Palestinian land, and is directly complicit in Israel’s system of oppression that denies Palestinians their basic rights guaranteed by international law, including the right to education and academic freedom.

Specifically, we exercise our academic freedom to decline participation in projects or attend conferences fully or partially sponsored by Ariel University or which include its representatives (dean, head of department or spokesperson) as participants. We further decline to write or referee for journals published by Ariel University or based in it. 

Respecting international law, as a peaceful and universal means of conflict resolution, requires denying recognition to, and severing institutional relations with Ariel University as an illegal settlement institution, and ending Israel’s ongoing violations of the UN-stipulated rights of the Palestinian people, particularly the right to self-determination.

 ==========================================

FACT SHEET  

https://noarielties.files.wordpress.com/2019/04/ariel-factsheet-3.pdf 





================================================================================

  A Campaign for Non-Recognition of and No Ties With Ariel University  

Authoritative Palestinian academic bodies are calling on states, academic institutions, multilateral research bodies and international academics not to recognize Ariel University and to refrain from any institutional relations with it.

Ariel University is an illegal institution, and is deeply and directly complicit in Israel’s system of oppression that has denied Palestinians their basic rights guaranteed by international law, including the right to education and academic freedom.Complicity in international law violations

Ariel University is the most prominent of several Israeli institutions of higher education built in illegal Israeli colony-settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank.

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip were occupied by Israel in 1967 and are internationally considered as Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), in breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court considers such settlement of occupied territory a war crime.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 reconfirmed in 2016 that Israel’s settlement activity has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”

Moreover, Ariel University is deeply and directly complicit in Israel’s system of oppression that denies Palestinians their basic rights guaranteed by international law.Obligations for institutions

Respecting international law, as a peaceful and universal means of conflict resolution, requires denying recognition to, and severing institutional relations with Ariel University as an illegal settlement institution.Support for non-recognition of Ariel University

The original decision to upgrade Ariel college to a university was opposed by the Council of Presidents of Israeli Universities and by over 1,000 Israeli academics on the grounds that “involving Israeli academia in the ideology of conquest … threatens the ability of the Israeli academia to function.”

In August 2018, the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) voted overwhelmingly (164-0, with 17 abstentions) to support the Israeli Anthropological Association in its refusal to cooperate with the illegal institutions of higher education (located in Israel’s illegal settlements in the OPT) and to “pledge its own non-cooperation with these institutions.”Who launched the call?

  • Palestinian Ministry of Education
  • Council of Palestinian Universities’ Presidents
  • Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE)
  • Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC)What you can do:

Urge states and institutions to avoid being complicit in illegality, by:

(1) Refraining from accrediting or recognising any diplomas or qualifications conferred by Ariel University;

(2) Ending all links and agreements with the Israeli Council for Higher Education as long as it continues to accredit Ariel University.

International academics are called upon to:

(3) Decline to write or referee for journals published by Ariel or based in it;

(4) Refuse to participate in projects or attend conferences fully or partially sponsored by Ariel University or which include its representatives (dean, head of department or spokesperson) as participants;

(5) Urge universities, conferences and workshops not to host individual academics from Ariel University unless their affiliation is properly indicated as “Ariel University, illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory” in conference material;

(6) Urge academic journals not to publish material identified with Ariel University unless it is properly indicated as “Ariel University, illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory;”

(7) Advocate for academic societies to approve motions supporting the call from Palestinian academic bodies not to recognise/sever existing links with Ariel University;

(8) Reject any collaboration with Ariel University as an institution or with any of its bodies.


=============================================================================


  Authoritative Palestinian Academic Bodies Call for Non-Recognition of and No Ties With Ariel University  


No Academic Business as Usual with Ariel University and all other Israeli Academic Institutions Illegally Built on Occupied Palestinian Land

A Call from Palestine        Français ci-dessous

On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we call on states, academic institutions and multilateral research bodies to withdraw any existing recognition of and end all institutional relations with Ariel University and other Israeli academic institutions illegally built on occupied Palestinian land. 

The obligation of non-recognition and non-assistance of unlawful situations ” is a fundamental precept of international law, particularly as they relate to Israeli settlements,  condemned by the United Nations Security Council as a “flagrant violation of international law.” Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israeli settlements and the transfer of Israeli settlers to occupied territory constitute a war crime.

Ariel University is located in the illegal Israeli settlement of the same name that was built on land stolen from surrounding Palestinian villages and on land Palestinian families have cultivated for generations. Israel’s wall, which was designed in such a way as to annex settlements, including Ariel, to Israel, was declared illegal in 2004 by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). It  severs Palestinian villages from each other and restricts freedom of movement. Palestinians have to live with the stench of wastewater dumped by Ariel on their agricultural land, destroying their crops, polluting their water sources and harming their health.

The settlements, which rob the Palestinian people of our land and natural resources and deny us our inalienable right to self-determination, are an integral part of Israel’s system of military occupation and colonial oppression dominating all aspects of Palestinian life, in particular education.

Israel’s military checkpoints and wall restrict travel to and from schools and colleges for Palestinian students, researchers and professors. The Israeli occupation authorities prevent Palestinian students in besieged Gaza, where nearly two million people live on four hours of electricity per day on average, from studying at Palestinian universities in the West Bank or from leaving Gaza for universities abroad.

Since the start of the current academic year, Israel has denied entry or refused to renew visas for scores of faculty members of Palestinian universities holding foreign passports.

Ariel University contributes significantly to Israel’s denial of the fundamental right of academic freedom for Palestinians.

The  European Union and the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation exclude Israeli academic institutions in the occupied Palestinian territory, such as Ariel University, from grants and joint research programs.

Israeli academic associations, including the Israeli Anthropological Association and the Israeli Sociological Society, as well as 1200 Israeli academics, have shunned Ariel University and refuse to cooperate with it.

In a  near-unanimous vote (830-21), the European Association of Social Anthropologists membership pledged non-cooperation with Israeli academic institutions in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Earlier this year, Kasetsart University in Bangkok ended its partnership with Ariel University for a Women’s Study Conference.

In 2012, the Technical University of Denmark  ended a joint research project with Ariel University. 

These measures were taken in recognition of the fact that collaborating with Ariel University necessarily means normalizing Israel’s illegal policies that deny Palestinian rights. We therefore call specifically on:

  • Governments and the European Union to condition agreements with the Israeli Council for Higher Education on non-recognition and non-accreditation of Ariel University.
  • Ministries of education worldwide not to accredit Ariel University’s diplomas.
  • International academic institutions and research centers to end all institutional links to Ariel University, including joint research, recognition of diplomas, invitations, visits and conferences.
  • International academics to refrain from participating in any activity/project fully or partially sponsored/organized by Ariel University or in which its representatives are participating.
  • Academic journals not to recognize Ariel University and to insist that submissions from academics affiliated to Ariel University must include the fact that it is located in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Signatories:
Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education
Council of Palestinian Universities’ Presidents
Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE)
Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC)

Background information:

Founded in 1982 as a branch of Bar-Ilan University, Ariel University Center of Samaria became an independent college in 2004. In 2012, it was granted accreditation by the so-called “Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria,” i.e. the occupied West Bank.

Ariel University is built on occupied Palestinian territory and is therefore built in violation of international law. In February 2018, the Israeli parliament passed a law placing Ariel University — along with two other colony-colleges, Herzog College, and Orot Israel College — under the auspices of Israel’s Council for Higher Education.

Ze’ev Elkin, Jerusalem Affairs Minister in Netanyahu’s far-right government, celebrated the Knesset vote on the matter tweeting that after “applying Israeli sovereignty on Ariel University, let’s begin to apply Israeli sovereignty on Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.”

According to B’Tselem, Israel’s leading human rights organization, Ariel, the illegal colony where the current university is based, was established in 1978 on Palestinian land that was seized “under the false pretext of imperative military needs and on land that was declared state land.” Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian or Syrian territory constitute war crimes.

Ariel University is expected to double in size over the next 5 years, thanks to a 20-million-dollar donation from US  billionaire and Israeli settlement supporter Sheldon Adelson and a solid commitment by the far-right Israeli education minister Naftali Bennett.

Published on the web site of the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education

==================================



Analysis. The Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies is the latest group of scholars to put pressure on a large, well-funded university in the middle of occupied land.
More academics join boycott against Israel’s Ariel University
written  by Chiara Cruciati

Published on April 30, 2019

 

 

 

In February, the Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies (SeSaMO) answered the call from the Palestinian academic world to refuse to recognize the university in the Israeli colony of Ariel.

SeSaMO, established in 1995 in Florence, brings together scholars from different disciplines and works to promote research on the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa. Two months ago, during the last annual meeting of the society, the participants decided to ask its president, Daniela Melfa, to send a letter to the Minister of Education asking him “to not accredit or recognize in any way Ariel University and the other university-level educational institutions located in the illegal Israeli settlements.”

At the end of March, the letter addressed to Minister Bussetti was published on the SeSaMO website, stressing the fact that, according to international law, “the transfer of civilian population and the construction of thousands of settlements in territories occupied by military force” are to be considered “war crimes.” With this letter, for the first time ever, an Italian academic society officially requested the suspension of relations with an Israeli university from the colonies.

In Hebrew, Ariel means “Lion of God.” Funded in 1978, after 11 years of Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, Ariel is one of the four largest settlements in the Occupied Territories. It has 20,000 residents living within its 15,000 square kilometers, located mostly in the West Bank, halfway between the 1948 Green Line and the border with Jordan. “In 15 years, this will be a city with 100,000 inhabitants,” promised Mayor Eli Shaviro a year ago. In March, with the electoral campaign in full swing, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the expansion of the settlement with 840 new dwellings, as a sort of “retaliation” for the murder of Israeli soldier Gal Keidan and Rabbi Achiad Ettinger at the hands of an 18-year-old Palestinian, Omar Abu Leila.

Ariel is, in effect, a full-fledged city, in strong contrast with the image that people who have never actually seen the West Bank have of Israeli colonies. Identical apartment buildings, hospitals, shopping centers and an industrial area with 45 factories take up one third of the area of jurisdiction of the municipality, assigned to it from Tel Aviv in violation of international law. At first, Ariel used to house the middle-class employees of the two largest Israeli military companies, the former Israel Aircraft Industries and Israel Military Industries. In the ‘90s, it was one of the destinations for immigration from the former Soviet Union, as Israel saw the arrival of over a million Russian Christians (to whose religion nobody wanted to draw attention, as the goal was simply to increase the Israeli population). Finally, the last of the waves of “migration” took place in the mid-2000s, when Gaza settlers were relocated there. This latter ultra-religious group has partly altered the previously secular character of the settlement, which used to lack ties to the religious movements that were thriving in the rest of the occupied West Bank.

According to the Israeli narrative, which can be read on the town’s website, Ariel is “a city in the heart of Israel.” Its real situation is whitewashed with its entirely “normal” industrial zone and “normal” university. Founded in 1982 as a branch of the Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv, Ariel University has been an independent university since 2004. Just a year ago, a special law placed it under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education in Tel Aviv.

It has 15,000 students, a faculty of 450, and departments of architecture, engineering, natural sciences, social sciences and medicine: “Ariel University presents a fresh perspective on contemporary Zionism and strives to revive the values of nation-building through dedication to excellence in science and research and championing social challenges,” one can read on its website. Its students and faculty “represent the full spectrum of Israeli society: Jews and Arabs, secular and observant, new immigrants and native-born Israelis.”

What makes Ariel University particularly attractive is its 20 research centers, working on everything from curing cancer to cybernetic innovation and from archeology to national security. Now, after a donation of $20 million from US billionaire Sheldon Adelson, the university is looking forward to a great expansion.

But there are some who refuse to have any part in this supposed success story. The Palestinian campaign for “No Academic Business as Usual with Ariel University and all other Israeli Academic Institutions Illegally Built on Occupied Palestinian Land” (signed by the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the Council of Palestinian Universities’ Presidents, the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees and the Palestinian Human Rights Organization Council) sounded the call for a boycott, appealing to all institutions, governments and individual academics to refuse to recognize the legitimacy of Ariel University. According to the campaign, “collaborating with Ariel University necessarily means normalizing Israel’s illegal policies that deny Palestinian rights.”

The boycott may take different forms: the refusal to participate in joint projects and conferences, the refusal to publish submissions by scholars working for Ariel University unless with an indication of the origin of the research as “the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” as well as a commitment to promote petitions for the non-recognition of the institution. The campaign also calls for denouncing the abuses that are happening on a daily basis: the denial of entry visas to Israel to those who collaborate with Palestinian universities, the refusal of permission to leave Gaza for students with scholarships abroad and the barriers to the right to education on account of the military checkpoints.

Some have answered the call for the boycott: 1,200 Israeli academics, the Israeli Anthropological Association and the Israeli Sociological Society, the Technical University of Denmark, the European Association of Social Anthropologists, the Kasetsart University in Bangkok and Exeter University have ended partnerships with Ariel University and refused to collaborate with it. Now, they have been joined by the Italian SeSaMO as well.    

=============================================== 

 
Thursday, November 29, 2018 12:45 PM

No Academic Business as Usual with Ariel University and all other Israeli Academic Institutions Illegally Built on Occupied Palestinian Land

A Call from Palestine
 
29 November 2018
 
On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we call on states, academic institutions and multilateral research bodies to withdraw any existing recognition of and end all institutional relations with Ariel University and other Israeli academic institutions illegally built on occupied Palestinian land. 


The obligation of non-recognition and non-assistance of unlawful situations " is a fundamental precept of international law, particularly as they relate to Israeli settlements,  condemned by the United Nations Security Council as a “flagrant violation of international law.” Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israeli settlements and the transfer of Israeli settlers to occupied territory constitute a war crime.


Ariel University is located in the illegal Israeli settlement of the same name that was built on land stolen from surrounding Palestinian villages and on land Palestinian families have cultivated for generations. Israel’s wall, which was designed in such a way as to annex settlements, including Ariel, to Israel, was declared illegal in 2004 by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). It  severs Palestinian villages from each other and restricts freedom of movement. Palestinians have to live with the stench of wastewater dumped by Ariel on their agricultural land, destroying their crops, polluting their water sources and harming their health.


The settlements, which rob the Palestinian people of our land and natural resources and deny us our inalienable right to self-determination, are an integral part of Israel’s system of military occupation and colonial oppression dominating all aspects of Palestinian life, in particular education.


Israel’s military checkpoints and wall restrict travel to and from schools and colleges for Palestinian students, researchers and professors. The Israeli occupation authorities prevent Palestinian students in besieged Gaza, where nearly two million people live on four hours of electricity per day on average, from studying at Palestinian universities in the West Bank or from leaving Gaza for universities abroad.


Since the start of the current academic year, Israel has denied entry or refused to renew visas for scores of faculty members of Palestinian universities holding foreign passports.


Ariel University contributes significantly to Israel’s denial of the fundamental right of academic freedom for Palestinians.


The  European Union and the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation exclude Israeli academic institutions in the occupied Palestinian territory, such as Ariel University, from grants and joint research programs.


Israeli academic associations, including the Israeli Anthropological Association and the Israeli Sociological Society, as well as 1200 Israeli academics, have shunned Ariel University and refuse to cooperate with it.


In a  near-unanimous vote (830-21), the European Association of Social Anthropologists membership pledged non-cooperation with Israeli academic institutions in the occupied Palestinian territory.


Earlier this year, Kasetsart University in Bangkok ended its partnership with Ariel University for a Women's Study Conference.


In 2012, the Technical University of Denmark  ended a joint research project with Ariel University. 


These measures were taken in recognition of the fact that collaborating with Ariel University necessarily means normalizing Israel's illegal policies that deny Palestinian rights. We therefore call specifically on:


Governments and the European Union to condition agreements with the Israeli Council for Higher Education on non-recognition and non-accreditation of Ariel University.
 
Ministries of education worldwide not to accredit Ariel University’s diplomas.
 
International academic institutions and research centers to end all institutional links to Ariel University, including joint research, recognition of diplomas, invitations, visits and conferences.


International academics to refrain from participating in any activity/project fully or partially sponsored/organized by Ariel University or in which its representatives are participating.
 
Academic journals not to recognize Ariel University and to insist that submissions from academics affiliated to Ariel University must include the fact that it is located in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian territory.


Background information:
 
Founded in 1982 as a branch of Bar-Ilan University, Ariel University Center of Samaria became an independent college in 2004. In 2012, it was granted accreditation by the so-called “Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria,” i.e. the occupied West Bank.
 
Ariel University is built on occupied Palestinian territory and is therefore built in violation of international law. In February 2018, the Israeli parliament passed a law placing Ariel University -- along with two other colony-colleges, Herzog College, and Orot Israel College -- under the auspices of Israel’s Council for Higher Education.
 
Ze’ev Elkin, Jerusalem Affairs Minister in Netanyahu’s far-right government, celebrated the Knesset vote on the matter tweeting that after "applying Israeli sovereignty on Ariel University, let’s begin to apply Israeli sovereignty on Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.”
 
 According to B’Tselem, Israel’s leading human rights organization, Ariel, the illegal colony where the current university is based, was established in 1978 on Palestinian land that was seized “under the false pretext of imperative military needs and on land that was declared state land.” Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian or Syrian territory constitute war crimes.
 
Ariel University is expected to double in size over the next 5 years, thanks to a 20-million-dollar donation from US  billionaire and Israeli settlement supporter Sheldon Adelson and a solid commitment by the far-right Israeli education minister Naftali Bennett.
 
Signatories:
 
- the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education, 
 
- the Council of Palestinian Universities' Presidents, 
 
- the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE), and 
 
- the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC).

=========================================================


FAQs about the appeal by authoritative Palestinian academic bodies to the world to deny recognition to and cut institutional links with Ariel University.

1. Are Palestinians asking us to withhold recognition of Ariel University?

Absolutely. Authoritative Palestinian academic and human rights bodies, including the Palestinian Ministry of Education, the Council of Palestinian Universities’ Presidents, the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) and the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC), have called on states, academic institutions, multilateral research bodies and international academics not to recognize Ariel University and to refrain from any institutional relations with it.

2. How is Ariel University complicit in violations of international law?

It is built in Ariel, an illegal Israeli colony-settlement established in 1978 on Palestinian land in the West Bank. The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip were occupied by Israel in 1967 and are internationally considered as Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) by the UN and referred to as such by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

3. What makes Israeli colony-settlements illegal?

According to Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, “the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the territories it occupies.” Israel, in transferring parts of its own population into the OPT, is clearly in breach of the convention. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court considers such settlement of occupied territory a war crime.

4. Do any countries regard the colony-settlements as legal?

Only Israel. The United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Court of Justice and the High Contracting Parties to the Convention have all affirmed that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the OPT. United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 reconfirmed in 2016 that Israel’s settlement activity “has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”

5. Why deny recognition to Ariel University?

Institutions that recognise Ariel University are complicit in a serious violation of international law.

Respecting international law, as a peaceful and universal means of conflict resolution, requires denying recognition to, and severing institutional relations with Ariel University as an illegal settlement institution, and ending Israel’s ongoing violations of the UN-stipulated rights of the Palestinian people, particularly the right to self-determination.

Moreover, Ariel University is not only itself an illegal institution, it is, through its direct involvement with Israel’s arms and security industries, deeply and directly complicit in Israel’s system of oppression that has denied Palestinians their basic rights guaranteed by international law, including the right to education and academic freedom.

6. Are there other Israeli institutions of higher education located in illegal Israeli settlements, besides Ariel University?

Yes. This document focuses on Ariel University, the most prominent one. But recognising or having normal relations with any Israeli institutions that are illegal  and/or complicit in serious violations of international law, especially those that are built in occupied Palestinian territory, is a violation of international law. Here is a partial list:

  • Herzog College (Mikhlelet Herzog) – a teachers training college with campuses in Jerusalem, and in the Alon Shvut and Migdal Oz illegal settlements.
  • Yehuda Regional College, located in Qiryat Arba, an illegal Israeli settlement on the outskirts of the Palestinian town of Al Khalil – Hebron.
  • Orot Israel College – a national-religious teachers training college located in the Elkana illegal settlement.

7. What is special about Ariel University?

Ariel University is the largest and most prominent of the Israeli academic institutions located in Israel’s illegal settlements. It is the only one that has been upgraded to a university. It is also the best connected internationally, and is a member of the International Association of Universities.

Ariel University was established by a decree of the Israeli Defence Forces in 1982 as the College of Judea and Samaria, originally under the sponsorship of Bar-Ilan University, and was accorded university status in 2012. In February 2018, it was brought under the jurisdiction of the Israeli Council for Higher Education, a measure celebrated by Jerusalem Affairs Israeli Minister Ze’ev Elkin as a step toward the application of Israeli sovereignty in ‘Judea and Samaria’ (the OPT).

In June 2018, far-right Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced a plan for Ariel University to double its size in five years with the establishment of a medical school through a $20 million donation from the Jewish-American casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Ariel University is involved in Israel’s highly lucrative arms and security industries. For instance, Ariel University has partnered with weapons manufacturer Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in joint research and collaborates with Cyberbit, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest weapons producer. In addition, Ariel University runs illegal archaeological digs in the occupied Palestinian territory.

8. Who supervises Ariel University?

The Israeli Council for Higher Education. However, as Ariel is not in Israel, under international law, Israel has no more right to exercise control over it than it has to control a university in Damascus or London.

9. Who else supports non-recognition of Ariel University?

There is widespread understanding, both inside and outside Israel, of the consequences of the complicity resulting from partnering with Ariel University and other institutions of higher education located in the OPT. For instance, the original decision to upgrade Ariel college to a university was opposed by the Council of Presidents of Israeli Universities and by over 1,000 Israeli academics on the grounds that “involving Israeli academia in the ideology of conquest … threatens the ability of the Israeli academia to function.”

To give another example, in August 2018, the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) voted overwhelmingly (164-0, with 17 abstentions) to support the Israeli Anthropological Association in its refusal to cooperate with the illegal institutions of higher education (located in Israel’s illegal settlements in the OPT) and to “pledge its own non-cooperation with these institutions.” We should expand and activate this understanding in order to uphold international law and basic human rights for the Palestinians.

10. What can I do to hold Ariel University accountable?

You can help by urging states and institutions to avoid being complicit in illegality, by:

(1) Refraining from accrediting or recognising any diplomas or qualifications conferred by Ariel University;

(2) Ending all links and agreements with the Israeli Council for Higher Education as long as it continues to accredit Ariel University.

In addition, international academics are called upon to:

(3) Decline to write or referee for journals published by Ariel or based in it;

(4) Refuse to participate in projects or attend conferences fully or partially sponsored by Ariel University or which include its representatives (dean, head of department or spokesperson) as participants;

(5) Urge universities, conferences and workshops not to host individual academics from Ariel University unless their affiliation is properly indicated as: “Ariel University, illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory” in conference material;

(6) Urge academic journals not to publish material identified with Ariel University unless it is properly indicated as: “Ariel University, illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory”;

(7) Advocate for academic societies to approve motions supporting the call from Palestinian academic bodies not to recognise/sever existing links with Ariel University;

(8) Reject any collaboration with Ariel University as an institution or with any of its bodies.

11. Who outside Israel decides whether or not Ariel University’s qualifications are recognised?

States usually make such decisions through their respective higher education councils or their equivalent. Individual EU governments, for instance, are free to apply their own rules, including whether or not to recognise academic qualifications obtained elsewhere. Practice may vary.

In the UK, for instance, a national body (NARIC) accredits international qualifications, but acknowledges that it has no authority to impose recognition on individual universities, which are free to recognise or reject qualifications.

12. Shouldn’t rejecting material for publication be made on purely academic grounds?

As academic values depend on factual evidence, if Ariel University is mentioned in a publication, it ought to be mentioned for what it is, an institution that is complicit in violations of international law. Concealing this information would be no less politically motivated than its acknowledgement. Submissions from academics affiliated with Ariel University can in our view be accepted for publication provided it is clearly indicated as: “Ariel University, illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

13. Does non-recognition of Ariel University contravene academic freedom?

No. The actions against Ariel University called for here constitute non-recognition of the university as an institution, not of the individuals who work in, unless those individuals are the university’s official representativespresident, dean, head of department or spokesperson. In the 1980s, complicit universities in apartheid South Africa were subjected to more strict measures of accountability by the international community, including universities.

Moreover, academic freedom must include the freedom to refuse collaboration with illegal activity, especially when that refusal has the wider aim of defending the freedom, including academic freedom, of people who are systematically deprived of it.

14. Will non-recognition of Ariel University adversely affect Palestinians, including Palestinian students at Ariel?

Unions and organisations representing all Palestinian students have endorsed the calls to hold Israel and its illegal and/or complicit institutions accountable for their human rights violations. They, like the rest of Palestinian society, are aware that this form of nonviolent resistance may come at a price for them. But they still fully support this peaceful resistance as it is a minimal price to achieve freedom, justice and equal rights.

Ariel has been trying to depict itself as a model of co-existence for some time. For instance, in 2011, the Ariel University Center of Samaria (not yet formally a university) held a conference entitled “Best Plans for a Peaceful Israel/Palestine.” Needless to say, the conference, like most such events, has done nothing whatsoever to slow the ongoing brutal and illegal Israeli colonisation of Palestinian land. It was pure propaganda. Of the circa 15,000 students at Ariel University, perhaps a few hundred are Palestinian citizens of Israel. As inhabitants of a state which systematically discriminates against them, they are unwilling parties to a “coercive relationship” with the Israeli state. Attending Ariel University does not mean they favour violating International law, or that they would not protest it if they could do so unpunished.

The geographic location of the university was chosen to promote Israel’s illegal settlements: the vast majority of  Ariel students arrive there from Israel on the settler Trans-Samarian Highway linking Ariel to present-day Israel, a road that was built on huge tracts of land illegally confiscated from Palestinians. Palestinian residents living around Ariel are not allowed to use this road, or to enter the Ariel settlement, let alone the university.

15. Why is international law important?

Israel flagrantly violates international law and is, nevertheless, given unconditional support by western and other powers, which feeds its impunity in committing grave human rights violations.

This is dangerous beyond Israel as it gives other countries justification to break international law without accountability. This will result in weakening international law as a whole, and increase instability and violence.

16. Are signatories to the Geneva Conventions obliged to take action to ensure they are adhered to?

Yes. Common Article 1 to the four Geneva Conventions lays down an obligation to “respect and ensure respect for the Conventions in all circumstances [emphasis added].” Article 26 under the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties states that “every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith.” The preface to the UN Charter says it aims “to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained. See further https://www.icrc.org/en/international-review/article/common-article-1.

17. Aren’t you singling out Israel?

No. First, Ariel University is not in Israel. It is illegally built on occupied Palestinian land. Second, Israeli institutions that are illegal or complicit in illegality are subject to accountability measures not because they are Israeli but because of the following combination of factors:

(a) They are part and parcel of a system of Israeli colonisation and theft of Palestinian land;

(b) Western and other governments are doing nothing whatsoever to compel Israel to meet its obligations under international law by, at the very least, ending its occupation and removing all its illegal settlements;

(c) Ending complicity with Ariel University will make a difference in bringing about a just and sustainable peace; and

(d) Most importantly, the vast majority of Palestinians are asking us to take this peaceful action, among tougher measures, because ending complicity in illegality is a moral and legal obligation, not a form of charity. Where similar conditions apply, we would be obliged to take the same kind of action there, too. We have done so before, when asked to do so, against complicit universities in apartheid South Africa. Why not now?

18. What about the Hebrew University of Jerusalem?

Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus Campus is partly built on Palestinian land in East Jerusalem occupied by Israel after 1967. Its buildings and facilities were expanded as a result of Israel’s 1968 illegal confiscation of 3345 dunums of Palestinian land (Israeli Gazette, Hebrew edition, number 1425). Since then, Hebrew University has confiscated land and worked to evict Palestinian families to build car parks and student dormitories.

Inasmuch as these buildings are used to house the population of an occupying power in occupied territory, they are clearly illegal under international law, making the Hebrew University at the very least a complicit institution.

The university website does not even acknowledge Israel’s 1967 military occupation, and simply refers to Jerusalem as ‘re-united’. Moreover, as a large higher education institution with thousands of students and employees, its presence in this area stimulates settler activities in occupied East Jerusalem. It benefits from settlement infrastructure, transport lines and access roads in the occupied territory, some of them on privately-owned Palestinian land.

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International Advisory Board

Below are members of the Advisory Board for the Ariel University non-recognition and non-collaboration campaign. Advisory Board members provide strategic input and serve as public advocates of the campaign.

________________________________

Etienne Balibar
Professor Emeritus, University of Paris X-Nanterre

________________________________

Angela Y. Davis
Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz

________________________________

Ivar Ekeland
Former President of the University Paris-Dauphine, Fellow of the Royal Sociey of Canada and former Director, the Pacific Institute of Mathematical Sciences

________________________________

Conor Gearty
Professor of Human Rights Law, London School of Economics

________________________________

David Harel
Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel Prize winner

________________________________

Yoshiko Kurita
Professor of Middle Eastern History, Chiba University

________________________________

Mari Oka
Professor of Modern Arabic Literature, Kyoto University

________________________________

Sarah Schulman
Distinguished Professor, College of Staten Island (CUNY)

________________________________

George P. Smith
Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri, 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

________________________________

Nandini Sundar
Professor of Sociology at the Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University

________________________________

Neil Turok
Director Emeritus, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Ontario

 

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