More than a dozen Palestinian higher education institutions have called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip along with the cessation of what they decry as Israel’s regime of settler-colonial oppression and apartheid within occupied Palestine. The Palestinians institution also urged for an academic boycott of Israeli universities, alleging their complicity in egregious human rights violations within the occupied territories.
In a joint statement issued on 29 November, the undersigned institutions noted that the Israeli government has been ‘intentional’ targeting entire neighborhoods, hospitals, schools, UN shelters, and universities that stands as a severe breach of international law. They noted that over 219 educational facilities, including at least 29 UNRWA schools have been struck by indiscriminate bombardment in the occupied Gaza Strip.
“Moreover, under international humanitarian law, ‘civilian objects’ such as educational sites cannot be targeted for attack. The Islamic University of Gaza was attacked along Al-Azhar University and other Universities by Israeli airstrikes,” it added.
The Palestinians institution underscored that the sustained bombardment has led to widespread and continuous loss of life, with a significant number being students, faculty, and staff. Additionally, Israeli’s military campaign in Gaza has triggered displacement and extensive destruction, posing a significant threat to the accessibility of education for countless generations of children and students in Gaza for an undetermined period.
The statement titled, ‘A unified call for justice and freedom in Palestine,’ further underscored that in wake of the persistent and escalating occupation violations in the West Bank, and due to fear of Israeli settlers’ assaults with more restrictions to Palestinians movement most Palestinian Universities switched to distance education starting 9 October. “The universities in Gaza Strip, however, have been totally paralyzed, as a result of no electricity, no stable internet connection and the priority of all staff members and students to care for survival,” it highlighted.
Contending that Israel is orchestrating “a genocidal” campaign against Palestinians people, the undersigned universities asserted culpability on the part of Israeli counterparts, noting that they play an integral role in the regime of settler colonial oppression and apartheid. They accuse Israeli universities of complicity in serious human rights violations, citing involvement in the development of weaponry, military doctrines, and legal justifications for the indiscriminate and widespread targeting of Palestinians.
Urging the international academic community to fulfil its intellectual and academic duty to seek the truth and hold perpetrators of genocide accountable, they also called for global isolation and boycott of Israeli universities, which they say are complicit in human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Read the full statement here.