Israeli academics protest curbs on WBank students

In a letter to Israel's high court, five professors said the restrictions amounted to a violation of academic freedom, and also made them more vulnerable to campaigns to boycott Israeli academics in Europe and elsewhere.

Israeli academics protest curbs on WBank students
A group of Israeli academics protested on Tuesday against military restrictions that bar many Palestinians living in occupied territory from attending universities in Israel.

In a letter to Israel's high court, five professors said the restrictions amounted to a violation of academic freedom, and also made them more vulnerable to campaigns to boycott Israeli academics in Europe and elsewhere.

Israel's court has been weighing the issue since 2006, in a case that has tested Israel's sweeping restrictions on Palestinian travel both inside the occupied West Bank and from the territory into Israel.

Israel has generally barred Palestinian entry. After Hamas's election victory in January 2006, the few Palestinians who seek to study at Israeli universities have been routinely denied permits.

Its five-page response in March also said Palestinians could not be allowed to study subjects "that could potentially be used against Israel".

University heads have criticised the ministry's proposals as an infringement on academic freedom. Some joined the protest on Tuesday in an apparent bid to hasten a ruling on the case.

"I am ashamed that people being paid with my tax money have come up with this policy," Tsevi Mazeh, a physics professor at Tel Aviv University, one of the signatories, told Reuters.

Mazeh said he feared the restrictions could lead to further calls to boycott Israeli academics abroad over Israel's tough policies towards Palestinians in occupied territory.

"I wonder how the hand of whoever wrote this proposal didn't shake. It's unbelievable and stupid and I'm ashamed. I hope the court sends them back to do their homework," Mazeh said.

Reuters
Last Mod: 29 Temmuz 2008, 18:39
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