BDS Update: Palestinian Academics Urge European Universities and Scholars to Withdraw from LAW TRAIN

05 Sep
5:25 AM

European professors and academic institutions have urged to end cooperation with the EU-funded project over involvement of Israeli institutions known for illegal detention practices, routine torture, and violence against Palestinians.

The following letter was released by the BDS National Committee:

The Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) call on European professors and academic institutions to immediately withdraw their participation from LAW TRAIN, a project aimed at unifying police interrogation methodologies while ignoring grave human rights violations.

We call on Belgiumā€™sĀ KU LeuvenĀ University, Portugalā€™sĀ INESC-IDĀ research institute, and UK academics who sit on the projectā€™sĀ advisory board to immediately end their involvement in the program out of respect for international law, and Palestinian human rights. Ā 

LAW TRAIN Ā is a joint EU-funded project with the Israeli Ministry of Public Security, the Israeli National Police and Israelā€™s Bar Ilan University.

The Israeli Ministry of Public Security and the Israeli policeā€™s illegal detention practices,Ā routine torture, and use of violence against Palestinian protesters have been criticized byĀ the UNĀ andĀ human rights organisations. It plays an active role in theĀ illegal detention of thousands of Palestinian political prisonersĀ in Israeli jails.

The Israeli National Police, which includes the infamously brutal Border Police unit, is deeply implicated inĀ war crimes,Ā extrajudicial executionsĀ andĀ illegal violent attacksagainst Palestinians, including theĀ brutal abuse of children detainees, as documented by Human Rights Watch. The police is also responsible for fostering a culture of impunity for Jewish-Israelis who terrorize or otherwise attack Palestinian civilians. InĀ 95% of such attacks, the police fail to charge offenders.

The presence of the headquarters of the Israeli National Police on occupied Palestinian territory in East Jerusalem constitutes a seriousĀ violation of international lawĀ that amounts to war crimes. This implicates European participants in LAW TRAIN in violations of international law. It also risks violating the EUā€™s own policy of nonrecognition of Israeli sovereignty in the OPT and EU guidelines for participation in research programs, since the EU Commission has not been able to confirm that the projectā€™s activities are not taking place on illegally occupied land.

Bar Ilan University isĀ deeply complicitĀ in Israelā€™s oppression of Palestinians. It maintains close ties with the Shin Bet, Israelā€™sĀ security services, which has been condemned by theĀ UN Committee Against TortureĀ for its use of torture and other illegal interrogation tactics.

Cooperation with these institutions through LAW TRAIN not only disregards Palestinians human rights; it provides a green light for these torture methods to continue, and worse yet, presents them as an example to follow in Europe.

We write to you after more than one thousand Palestinian political prisoners sustained a 40-dayĀ hunger strikeĀ this summer in protest of Israelā€™s inhumane conditions including torture, denial of medical care and routine solitary confinement, in which the Israeli National Police and Israeli Ministry of Public Security are directly involved. Israel currently imprisons around 6000 Palestinian political prisoners includingĀ 300 children, many of whom are held without trial or charge.

Last August, following civil society pressure, theĀ Portuguese governmentĀ withdrew all involvement from LAW TRAIN, and we urge other European partners in the project to follow suit.

We call on Belgiumā€™sĀ KU LeuvenĀ University, Portugalā€™sĀ INESC-IDĀ research institute, and UK academics who sit on the projectā€™sĀ advisory board to end their facilitation of Palestinian human rights violations by immediately withdrawing from LAW TRAIN.

Sincerely,

Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE)
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

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