Engage: Challenge the ban on Palestinian students attending Israeli universities

Engage has an alert out:

Engage notes with great concern the existence of a ban on Palestinian students attending Israeli universities as revealed in a petition to Israel’s High Court brought by GISHA, the Center for the Legal Protection of Freedom of Movement.

We endorse and support the call from Heads of Palestinians Universities to members of Global Civil Society and Academia for appropriate action to protest against this restriction on entry and re-entry.

We condemn this ban in the strongest possible terms, and call upon academics and trade unionists to protest the ban directly to Higher Education Minister Yuli Tamir.

Engage stands for academic freedom in Israel and Palestine, and for international academic exchange as a good in itself and because it can form part of a path to peace. We oppose unambiguously all attempts to apply discrimination on the basis of nationality to ordinary academic interchange, whether this be in the form of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions and academics or in the form of a ban on Palestinians studying in Israel.

Shalom Lappin has written to the Higher Education Minister:

Dear Professor Tamir,
I am an Israeli academic teaching at King’s College, London. I have been active for some time here in the campaign to oppose boycotts of Israeli academic and cultural institutions. I taught for many years at Israeli universities, and I have an adjunct position in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Haifa. It is with deep dismay that I read that Zahal has recently imposed a generalized ban on Palestinian students from the West Bank and Gaza studying at Israeli universities for security reasons. Considerable press coverage has been given to the case of Sawsan Salame, a 29 year old Palestinian woman from the village of Anata, who is apparently being prevented by this ban from taking up Ph.D studies in chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. To the extent that these reports are accurate, the policy which they describe represents a serious violation of fundamental human rights. It is incompatible with Israel’s long standing commitment to academic and educational freedom. It is flagrantly discriminatory in depriving innocent Palestinians of the opportunity to pursue educational opportunities, simply on the basis of national identity, regardless of their individual actions. Security considerations must be applied on a case by case basis. Banning an entire population from entry to Israeli universities is behaviour that is entirely unworthy of a democracy. In addition to the fact that this prohibition violates Israel’s own democratic and moral principles, it seriously damages efforts to promote moderation and mutual understanding between Israelis and Palestinians. I urge you to use your influence within the Government to have this policy overturned as quickly as possible.

I will post an address to which you can write, shortly. There is also a Knesset email address for the Higher Education Minister:

More here and here.