Support the academic boycott of Israel sign now

On the 30th May 2007, a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions was passed by Britain's University and College Union (UCU) in protest at Israel's "40-year occupation" of Palestinian land and to condemn the "complicity" of Israeli academia.

Certain pro-israeli occupation groups have been trying to undemocratically over turn this motion.

Please sign this petition to stop these attempts.

The Israeli Violations of Right to Education in Palestine;
The International Human Rights Treaties are applicable in the occupied territories at all times , similar the decision of the child rights committee . The Israeli occupation violated all the Palestinian rights; here we are going to talk about the violation against the rights of the Palestinian population to education as addressed in the international instruments. The discussion focuses only on the occupied territories.
1- The Israeli violation 1967-1994.
During this period Israel violated all the International Law in different ways:-
- The education system running under the military control and the military orders then the authority of the ministry of education to an Israeli military officer .
- Required Palestinian teachers to sign forms which declared their loyalty to the Israeli occupation, as reaction of this order, the majority of the schools in the West Bank closed for more than two months because teachers went on strike to protest this measure .
- Forbidden every student arrested for political reasons to go back to the government schools. Then the percentage of the phenomenon dropt-out of the school was about 4\% .
- The military order number 854/1 of July 1980, which brought the universities of the Occupied Territories under the control of Israeli law, textbook censorship, teaching permits, and school closures. What they taught and the materials that they used, and they confiscated 59 out of 78 schools books which stopped the education in schools. And delete any article on the curriculum talked about the occupation or the resisting the occupation .
- They used different types of punishment against the teachers such as arbitrary transferred to distance schools, forcing them out of work, arrests and early retirements .
- The Israeli government took similar measures in July 1980 when they enacted Military Order 854/2. This order required non-resident, non-Israeli and foreign university faculty members to sign a "loyalty oath" that they would "refrain from any act which is harmful to security and public order ... and the rendering of any service, or a collaborative or helpful nature, to the PLO Palestinian Liberation Organization] or any other hostile organization . Many Students were shot in demonstrations. Student council members were jailed and some were deported to Jordan or Lebanon .
- In addition, school closures prevented many Palestinian students from attending classes. For example, from 1973-1987 Birzeit University was closed 15 separate times for a total of more than 18 months. From February 1988 until mid 1989, all Palestinians universities were under almost continuous closure because they had become centers of protest. Israel justified their actions by arguing that the universities needed to control their students better .
- The students from Gaza Strip and studying in the West Bank have to spend all studies under the constant threat and pressure, that if the Israeli solders encounter them they will be arrested and transferred to Gaza. Students must spend long periods of their study far away from their family. This problem is getting worse The committee on economic, social and culture rights has noted the rights to education can only enjoy if accompanied by the academic freedom of staff and students .
- The education system under the occupation is based on discrimination. A system similar to the education system under the apartheid in South Africa, including the school building the facilities in the schools the teachers .
- The child committee comments for the Israeli report was very clear that Israel violated the right to education, comments (2/a and b) 14, 19, 26, 53 and 53 .also Human rights Watch reported the Israeli violation to right to education in the Occupied territories that the violation become a common, the discrimination against the Palestinian .
2- The Israeli Policy Arresting and Killing the Student
The Palestinian Ministry of education, Defence for Children International/ Palestine Section (DCI/ps), and other human rights organization, reported that the Palestinian children have been targeted from the occupation forces, arresting and killing, such as;
- The Palestinian right to education as enshrined in the international covenant and other international instruments has been violated through the Israeli daily military operations on the Palestinian territories. The Palestinian ministry of education issued a comprehensive report about the Israeli violation of the right to education , according to this report 813 students have been killed, 4738 student injured, 1125 student arrested, 35 teachers killed and 77 teachers have been arrested .
- Many cases of children being killed when they have been in the class room, one of them was Reham Ward 12 years old in the fifth grade from Al-Abrahemee school, Jeneen,. On 17 October she was in the class room sitting on the school desk, suddenly she was shoot death from Israeli solders at her school.
- Other cases children on the way to the school were also killed, like the cases of Iman Al-Hums 13 years old she was on the way back to home with her school bag, suddenly an Israeli military officer shot her more than 12 pullets, after the pusher of the human rights organization. The Israel army opens investigation and prosecutes the killer. But in the end the Israeli court was to find the killer innocent as he worked according to the military order, then the court decide to gave him compensation for 78000 Israeli shekel about 12000.
- Through my experience with the Palestinian child prisoners every year more than 700 Palestinian arrested, all of them students on the school, from the age of 12-17 . Some of them arrested in school, such as the Al-Khader school, On November 2005, in one week more than 60 children arrested from this school accused of throwing stones and cocktail Molotov to the settlers street. All of them from three classes on the school, which means half of the student from every class room in the prison.
- It is impossible to assess the long-term psychological harm caused to children by these assaults on their schools, the killing and wounding of their friends and the growing poverty they experience at home. Many have simply lost their childhood . This violation cannot offer studying atmosphere for the children. How can the child study while his mate in prison or injured or killed? How he can feel safety in the school while he heard about a lot of student killed or injured in their schools?
3- The Collective Punishment Checkpoints and Closure;
Since the beginning of the second Intefada the occupation forces escalated their policy of collective punishment. This policy adversely affects the Palestinian population life, in many different ways. Check points, curfews and closures has become the main feature of occupation these days in Palestine.
- In August 2005 in the West Bank, they were about 376 obstacles to movement recorded in the West Bank these includes : 52 permanently manned checkpoint,7 temporarily checkpoints,49 road blocks, 48 metal gates, 200 earth mound, 8 earth wall( along series of earth mound), 12 trenches, and Random, or mobile checkpoints set up without warning . The waiting time of such obstacles varies from a couple of minutes to several hours, almost arbitrarily access denied altogether. These obstacles destroyed the life and the communication between Palestinian cities and villages. Human Rights reported Palestinian children were frequently blocked from attending school by widespread road closures, curfews, and attacks by armed Israeli soldiers and settlers. Those who did reach school did not always find safety .
- Because of the Check points the students and the teachers arrived every day late to their schools, some times in the morning the soldiers dont allow to pass through the check points and forced the people to go back. The same thing in the evening. In order to continue the life and work under this policy the majority of the teachers have to sleep in the schools.
- The Israeli policy prevented thousands of young Palestinians from attending school, in 2002 over 226,000 children were unable to get to their schools and over 9,300 teachers were unable to teach in their regular classrooms. At least 580 schools had to close that year because of Israeli curfews, closures and home confinements . Similar the situation of the universities, because all the universities on the main cities which were invasions by the occupation forces in April 2002. Israel makes life near impossible for Palestinian education and fellow students in universities and schools.
- The Palestinian ministry of education reported For instance on Nablus area alone, from first of September 2002 until 30 of may, because of the Israeli violation against the education 94 schools disrupted, 38413 pupil disrupted, 1760 teacher disrupted, 2506 disruption days, and 71 curfews days.
- Since the beginning of the current Intefada, September 2000. Israeli occupation forces escalated of their violation against the Palestinian students. Shelling the schools and killing the students as mentioned above, and closing the schools. January 2001 the Israeli forces occupied the three schools in the old city of Al-Khalel until 23 January 2005 . In theses schools 1200 forced to leave their schools. They replace them by the military tanks and Jeeps, solders shooting the children in there houses. The students were forced to go long distances to continue their study.
- Even after transferring the education to the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli still use the military orders on the Palestinian education The last military order was on November 2006, no extensions the visas for any one come to the country with foreign passport, this order affected more than 105 lecturers in Palestinian universities, the majority of them are Palestinian but with foreign nationalities, and they have many children in the schools . Which mean that they have to leave the occupied territory and they will not be able to obtain a visa to go back. The impact of the Israeli practice includes the forced separation of spouses from each other, parents from their children, educators and students from their schools.
- The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics Report , during the second Intifada 29 of September till 20of January 2006 the occupation forces closed 9 schools in order to confiscate them for military posts. 289 schools destroyed through the shilling and the tanks shills. During 2002 and 2003 498 schools were closed due to closure and curfew in addition to 1289 schools since the beginning of the Intifada.
- Many children were been arrested the day before their final high school exams (Tawjehi) as type of revenge . Even Tawjhi pepper exams, every morning during the exams the ministry had to disrepute it through one of the diplomatic offices and the ICRC to disrepute the questions papers and to get it back to the ministry of education. Because the Israeli check points dont allow for the ministry cars to pass through the check points. Even the student, some times they have to pass the check points with the ICRC cars. How can the ministry of education can control and run the education system in such conditions? Where else does this happen?
4- The Annexation Wall;
On summer 2002 the Israeli occupation announced the confiscated of the Palestinian land to build the Wall. We named it the Separation Wall, the Apartheid Wall, and the Annexation Wall, as Dr John Dugard the Special Raporteur for Palestine named it. The length of the wall is about 750 km. and the width from 60 -140 m and high from 6-8m. The Israeli plan to build this wall will eventually extend to the Jordan valley and join with the western wall thus this means confiscating more than 45\%of the West Bank. There is no need for further discuss the Israeli claim for building the wall, the United Nation and the International Community knew fully that the Israeli colonial purposes for building the wall and the decision of the International Court of Justice in 2004 is very clear.
The Palestinian ministry of education reported , in Tul-Karm area only there are 10 schools behind the wall, with 1728 student 73 teachers, here the problem, the student come from different places and also the teachers, they have to cross the gates of the wall then spend along time waiting on the gates going back and forth. Their study depends on the solider that has the key of the gate. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, 48,4\% of the households that have some members on the schools used detour road in order to reach their schools as a method of adoption with the difficulties they face compared with 79\% households that have pupils in the schools were forced to be absent of the schools due to the closure.
Many students and teachers are now on the other side of the wall, the only way to reach their schools through certain gates in the wall which are controlled from the Israeli army, where they are no nearby crossing points through the wall. Student and teachers have to make extensive detour to reach their schools, often when they use the gates they are subject to humiliating checking procedures. In some cases reports of females being sexually harassed has surfaced .
5- Education in the Israeli prisons;
Here I do not discuss arbitrary arrest, I am concerned with talking about their humanitarian right to have education in the Israeli prisons. The Fourth Geneva Convention article 94/1 (The Detaining Power shall encourage intellectual, educational ) 94/2 (All possible facilities shall be granted to internees to continue their studies or to take up new subjects. The education of children and young people shall be ensured; they shall be allowed to attend schools either within the place of internment or outside). According to this article the prisoners under the occupation have the right to education, the same education they took before they arrested children and adults.
The Israeli authorities have violated the prisoners right to education since the beginning of the occupation `1967. The education here means the primary education for children according to article 13 of the covenant, and the education for the adult, the high education. This right is so important because of the large number of Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli prisons. Human rights organizations have talked about more than 600000 Palestinian in prisons since the beginning of the occupation 1967 until 2003 . Now in the Israeli prisons about 11000 prisoners, 430 of them children between the ages of 12-17 years old .
The Israeli prisons authority used to violate this right and just allow education for the adult on the Israeli Open University. Few cases only succeed to attend this university because of the complex procedures, such as high fees and the requirement to have perfect Hebrew language, and also the agreement from the prison administration. During the years, this is the main ambition for the prisoners to have the opportunity to continue their education in the Palestinian and international universities.
The rights to education for the children was also prohibited, Defince for children International Palestine Section as a child rights organization started to work on this right in 1996, we received negative answer from the prison authority, according to the decision of the Israeli supreme court in 1978, which state the political prisoners havent the rights to education. We went me and Israeli lawyer Tamar Belk to the Israeli Supreme Court on July 1996 challenging this decision, on 17 November 1997 the Supreme Court decided that the Palestinian political child prisoners have the right to education as the Israeli children, the education must be according to the Palestinian system, and the education must be according to the security. When I went to the prison to give them the Palestinian curriculum and the books, the military officer of education told me that according to the security we can teach them just Arabic, Hebrew, English and mathematics. All the other subjects are against the security of the prisons.
This is a violation of right to education as addressed in the covenant and the other international instruments. Also it is a type of discrimination because the Israeli children in the same prison, but other section, having open education, with all the education facilities, teachers, computers, and books, its like school not prison, just the discrimination because they are Palestinian. Human rights Watch reported Palestinian children detained in Israel's Telmond Prison continued to be denied an education equivalent to that of detained Jewish children .


The call for boycott

Nearly sixty of the most prominent academic, cultural and professional associations and trade unions in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza, including the Federation of Unions of Palestinian Universities Professors and Employees and the umbrella organization of Palestinian Non Governmental Associations (NGOs) in the occupied West Bank (PNGO) and thus highly representative of the views of major sectors in Palestinian civil society have now called for an academic and cultural boycott of Israeli institutions.

They make the following demands:

In the spirit of international solidarity, moral consistency and resistance to injustice and oppression, We, Palestinian academics and intellectuals, call upon our colleagues in the international community to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel's occupation, colonization and system of apartheid, by applying the following:

1. Refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions;

2. Advocate a comprehensive boycott of Israeli institutions at the national and international levels, including suspension of all forms of funding and subsidies to these institutions;

3. Promote divestment and disinvestment from Israel by international academic institutions;

4. Work toward the condemnation of Israeli policies by pressing for resolutions to be adopted by academic, professional and cultural associations and organizations;

5. Support Palestinian academic and cultural institutions directly without requiring them to partner with Israeli counterparts as an explicit or implicit condition for such support.

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Rosella PetersBy:
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UCU -University and College Union

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