More Than Half the Invited Speakers Withdraw From Scientific Workshop at Israeli Settlement University

21 Aug
11:59 PM
Six of the eleven invited speakers have confirmed their withdrawal from a physics workshop at Ariel University, which is built on occupied Palestinian land in an illegal Israeli settlement. Palestinian academics urge remaining speakers to withdraw from the workshop.

The following letter was sent on August 2, 2018 to invited speakers of theĀ ā€œInflation, Alternatives and Gravitational Wavesā€ workshop to be held September 3-6 at Ariel University. The universityĀ is built on occupied Palestinian landĀ in the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel. Over half those invited to speak have confirmed they will not be attending. Despite some having withdrawn weeks ago, theĀ workshop websiteĀ continues to falsely display their names. We urge the remaining speakers to stand with their Palestinian colleagues and withdraw from the workshop.Ā 

We are writing to you as an invited speaker for theĀ workshopĀ entitled ā€œInflation, Alternatives and Gravitational Wavesā€ at Ariel University, Sept 3-6, 2018. As the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), we urge you to cancel your participation at this university, which is built on occupied Palestinian land, in violation of international law.

Ariel University was built in the illegal Israeli settlement of the same name in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. International consensus holds that Israeli settlements are illegal. United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 recentlyĀ reconfirmedĀ this position, maintaining that Israelā€™s settlement activity ā€œhas no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.ā€ Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israeli settlements constitute a war crime.

The settlement of ArielĀ was built on land stolen fromĀ surrounding Palestinian villages and on land Palestinian families have cultivated for generations. The apartheid wall built to annex Ariel to Israel, and declared illegal in 2004 by the International Court of Justice (ICJ),Ā severs Palestinian villagesĀ from each other and restricts freedom of movement and their development. Palestinians have to live with theĀ stench of wastewater fromĀ Ariel that affects their health, destroys their crops and pollutes water sources.

The settlements, which rob Palestinians of land and resources, are a part of Israelā€™s system of oppression dominating all aspects of Palestinian life, in particular education.

Israelā€™s military checkpoints restrict travel to and from university for Palestinian students, researchers and professors. Israel prevents Palestinian students in besieged Gaza, where nearly two million people live onĀ four hours of electricityĀ per day, from studying at Palestinian universities in the West Bank or from leaving Gaza for universities abroad.

Israel denies travel permits to Palestinian scholars, severely limiting access to international conferences.

Since the start of the current academic year, Israel hasĀ denied entry or refused to renew visasĀ for scores of faculty members of Palestinian universities holding foreign passports.

Israel denies Palestinians the fundamental right of academic freedom, and Ariel University is playing an active role.

TheĀ European UnionĀ and theĀ US-Israel Binational Science FoundationĀ exclude Israeli academic institutions in the occupied Palestinian territories, such as Ariel University, from grants and research programs.

Israeli academic associations, including theĀ Israeli Anthropological AssociationĀ andĀ the Israeli Sociological Society, as well asĀ 1200 Israeli academics, have shunned and are refusing to cooperate with Ariel University.

Earlier this year, Kasetsart University in BangkokĀ endedĀ its partnership with Ariel University for a Women’s Study Conference.

These measures were taken in recognition of the fact that collaborating with Ariel University necessarily means normalizing Israel’s illegal policies that deny Palestinian rights and stifle Palestinian higher education.

By participating in a workshop at Ariel University, you would be lending your name and scholarship to this end, something we trust you would not want to do.

We, Palestinian academics and human rights defenders, urge you to do the right thing and cancel your participation at this conference in the illegal settlement of Ariel.

We look forward to receiving your reply and would be happy to discuss this further with you.

Sincerely,

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

The Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) represents more than 6,000 Palestinian university staff at 13 institutions of higher education in the occupied Palestinian territory.

TheĀ Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)Ā was initiated in 2004 to contribute to the struggle for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality. PACBI advocates for the boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, given their deep and persistent complicity in Israelā€™s denial of Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law.

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