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Support Academic Freedom
As academics and intellectuals concerned with the continued suffering
of the Palestinian people under the Israeli occupation and the erosion of academic life within Palestine, we call upon academics, intellectuals, professional academic organizations, and educational institutions in Israel and internationally to become actively involved in defending the Palestinian peoples right to an educational system that is open, sustainable, and accessible.

Current conditions in the Occupied Territories, and now the building of the Separation Wall, have destroyed all aspects of life for the Palestinian people; their vital institutions have been ravaged and they have been denied basic entitlements. The internationally recognized entitlement to education means that benefits of education should be open and accessible to all Palestinians. Moreover, education constitutes a crucial condition for sustained economic and cultural development and autonomy, forming one of the most important conditions for viable and peaceful coexistence. The educational conditions of the Palestinian population, who were among the most highly educated groups in the Middle East, are currently appalling. With the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and especially in recent years with the increased Israeli militarization of the territories, Palestinian institutions of higher education have become devastated by the effects of war. The increasing number of checkpoints and settlements have made it increasingly difficult for students and faculty to arrive at educational facilities; what should be a 30 minute drive is now an arduous, dangerous and often impossible trip for students, teachers and staff, often taking up to 8 hours or more. The summary closing of borders and roads, the destruction of buildings, the intimidation and harassment of students and faculty alike, the sudden and unwarranted closing of universities by Israeli authorities these have made it often impossible for schools to offer complete semesters. And now, the building of the Separation Wall, which constitutes a clear infraction of international law and direly worsens the conditions of life, will make it impossible for institutions of higher learning to function openly and continuously. The Separation Wall thus undermines the conditions for the exercise of academic freedom and the Palestinian right to an open, secure, and self-governing educational institutions.

The right to a free and uninterrupted education must be secured for the Palestinian people. To that end, we oppose the building of the settlements and the Separation Wall on Palestinian lands because they intensify the decimation of the educational, cultural and economic life of the Palestinian people. In particular, we urge Israeli colleagues and representatives of professional academic organizations and institutions of higher education in Israel who enjoy greater academic freedoms than their Palestinian counterparts to move to the forefront of such efforts and to rally professional organizations in Israel to actively support Palestinian universities and institutions of higher learning.

Only if these, and similar efforts, are successful will any of us begin to see the end to this human devastation and the possibility for a sustained reconciliation.

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Celeste CabreraBy:
Technology and the InternetIn:
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Academic Community

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