Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The other battle for academic freedom

I have been giving a fair bit of attention in this blog to the proposed UCU boycott of Israeli academics, but there is another, more pressing struggle for academic freedom going on in Israel/Palestine. That is the exclusion of many Palestinian students from Palestinian universities: an Israeli ban that prevents all Palestinian students in Gaza from studying in the West Bank, for "security" reasons. This is a gross infringement of academic freedom, experienced directly and concretely by Palestinian students, and is utterly inexusable, whatever the security situation.

To their credit, Israeli universities - and Israeli intellectuals at large - are protesting vigorously against the ban.

I should also point out that - as with the Engage website - my criticism of this Israeli policy is not some cynical ploy to portray myself as even-handed; this is not the first time I have written about this issue.

Bonus link: Gisha

5 comments:

Incognito said...

Perhaps not fair, but certainly understandable... any of those Palestinian students could strap on a bomb and blow the Univ. to bits.

I'd be constantly worried, about my fellow Palestinian students.

If they would just stop blowing up Israelis and themselves.....

Renegade Eye said...

If not allowed to go to college because of discrimination, another suicide bomber is born.

Good post.

Daniel said...

I find your timing curious, at the midst of civil war conditions in Gaza. Further Israeli Occupied Palestine has two university campuses of its own. Israeli action clearly infringes on full utilization of that. However Israeli Arabs are not prevented to go to uni, and suffer some but comparatively little discrimination I am told. Israel has an obligation as occupying force to guarantee amongst others the rights of education, and I think that right is disturbed as early as primary school due to curfews etc..
However universities are likewise availble in Egypt, Jordan and Damascus as well as in Europe, and many countries offer scholarships to Palestinians. Israel is not exactly a logical or good choice of destination for seeking education, it seems to me, beside if I was Palestinian, I would not even want to study in Israel. What people do say however is that it is extremely difficult for all to move from one sector into the other. So if you live in Gaza, and you study at some college in Nablus, you may have to be prepared to travel for more than a day, even though only three hour car drive directly. This is the most critizised point. But again in the context of suicide bombers as incognito says, the armed Hamas factions are not making the job any easier. Also as to regards Palestinian opportunities, and the lack of them, they are still better than others. In fact Palestinians as a group, I read somewehere are supposed to be the most educated Arab speaking people in the entire Middle East, altough I think the majority of these PHDs and Profs work abroad.

Imam Grouik-Grouik said...

an action proposed by a french site

Le Blog du Cochon Hallal

bob said...

Re Daniel's point: I understand the security concerns, but rights is rights!

And, yes, I believe Gaza specifically has the one of the most educated populations in the younger age brackets in the whole Middle East.