On March 8, 2021, Israeli media outlets reported plans by the Israeli Ministry of Defense aiming to establish conditions under which Israel controls which foreign lecturers are allowed to teach in Palestinian universities in the Occupied Palestinian territories and what topics they are allowed to teach. Scheduled to take effect in May, 2022, the “Procedure for Entry and Residency of Foreigners in Judea and Samaria Region” grants Israeli military immense powers to isolate Palestinian universities from the outside world, and to determine the future course of Palestinian higher education. The new military order requires each applicant to submit to interrogation at an Israeli diplomatic mission in the country of origin, while imposing stiff monetary bonds on those selected for entry.
We the undersigned consider this decision yet another oppressive Israeli strike aimed at controlling and shrinking academic outreach and the Palestinian integration with the global learning sphere. And as part of the continuous efforts of the Occupying Power to socially re-engineer Palestinian society in order to stifle dissent against the occupying force. These attempts can be seen in the diverse measures taken by the Apartheid State of Israel whether through the de-legitimization of Palestinian civil society organizations, the crackdown on Palestinian Human Rights Defenders and activists, the permit and control system affecting every aspect of Palestinian communities’ lives, or mass incarceration, to name just some of the repressive measures taken.
This announcement poses a threat to academic cooperation between Palestine and the international academic community. This cooperation has benefited both Palestinian and international academics by providing new experiences and expertise, raising awareness of the situation in Palestine, and helping to foster a vibrant Palestinian academic community (which includes nowadays over 220,000 students). The military order also puts limits on the number of
faculty who can be admitted (around 100 faculty annually) and caps the number of foreign students who can be permitted entry to 150.
We call on the academic community to:
- Collectively object to this decision and refuse to comply with the Israeli Apartheid State’s requirements.
- Encourage academics and students to visit and collaborate with academic and research institutions in Palestine.
- Participate in academic activities to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian Academic Community such as Palestinian solidarity actions and the Bisan lecture Series
- Demand that your universities and governments hold Israeli occupation authorities accountable by boycotting complicit Israeli academic institutions, divesting from joint research programs with them and cancelling any visits by academic missions to Israeli universities as long as Palestinian Universities do not enjoy the same rights.
- Association of Academics for the Respect of International Law in Palestine (AUDRIP)
- British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP)
- Bisan Center for Research and Development (Bisan)