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Israel Bars New Palestinians From Its Universities

Israel Bars New Palestinian Students From Its Universities, Citing Concern Over Security

Middle East News Service

[ Middle East News Service Comment: At least some of the apologists for the Occupation feign concern for academic freedom as their main reason for their opposition to academic boycotts of Israel. But as I said before the best way of testing their sincerity is to confront them with the situation outlined below, particularly the case of Sawan Salameh a Palestinian who has received a scholarship to do a Ph D in Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. What are they going to do about Palestinian academic freedom? Hopefully when those Australians who signed petitions and statements opposing the boycott of Israel write stern letters to the IDF they will send me a copy so I can keep you (and the media) informed.

Salameh’s particular case is covered in great detail by Tamara Traubman in the Hebrew Haaretz. (For some reason the story is not available in the English edition, or at least not that I could see. The article below is from the New York Times.) Traubman writes that Salameh’s supervisor Professor Raphael Levine has also appealed to the authorities to let Salameh enter Israel. According to him her entry is vital to research. A similar appeal was issued by the Israeli-Palestinian Science Organisation, a body which include senior scientists and Nobel Laureates from around the world Israel and the Palestinian authority. All these requests were to no avail. None of the responses suggested that there any information in regard to security risks concerning Salameh. Again what a great opportunity for those who advocate increased cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians as an alternative to the boycott to do something about it.

Shlomo Dror, spokesperson for the Coordinator of Activities in the Territories was quite blunt when he told Haaretz: “’It is not as if we are preventing her from studying. She can go across to Jordan. You must also remember that tuition is more expensive in Israel. If she is such a bright student she could get a scholarship somewhere else.’ But Salameh cannot study at another university as she is dependent on her scholarship. In addition her traditional family will not approve of her studying abroad.” [Jerusalem is a short distance away from her village.]

Please forward to any academic friends you know especially supporters of Israel who may have more pull in getting this decision reversed or those in Chemistry. –Sol Salbe.]

See Full Story…

Israel Bars New Palestinian Students from its Universities, Citing Concern over Security

Published: October 11, 2006
ANATA, West Bank, Oct. 9 — Sawsan Salameh, a Palestinian from the West Bank, was thrilled to get a full scholarship from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to begin a doctorate in theoretical chemistry.

But a recent move by the Israeli Army to ban new Palestinian students from Israeli universities for security reasons is keeping her from studying at the campus, just two miles from her home.

“The first time I applied for a permit I was rejected,”said Ms. Salameh, 29, a Muslim wearing a firmly fastened head scarf and a black denim skirt that skimmed the floor. “I was shocked, because I thought there must be some kind of mistake, so I kept trying. I kept hoping.”

Her situation is familiar to many Palestinians whose freedom of movement has been limited in recent years because of the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Ms. Salameh said that after she appealed six times to the Israeli government agency that handles Palestinian affairs, she decided to turn to the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, Gisha, an Israeli group that is an advocate for Palestinian rights, submitted a petition on her behalf to the court, calling the ban illegal.

“Gisha calls upon Israel not to prevent Palestinian students from studying just because they are Palestinian,” said the group’s director, Sari Bashi. “No one should be denied access to education based on his or her national identity.”

The practice of reviewing student permits has been in effect since 2001, the last time any new Palestinian student was granted a permit, officials said. But before the outright ban began this summer, the army reviewed requests case by case, something it says it will not do now. Gisha is asking that individual reviews be restored.

See Full Story…


[The independent Middle East News Service concentrates on providing alternative information chiefly from Israeli sources. It is sponsored by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the AJDS. These are expressed in its own statements]

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