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An Open Letter to President George W. Bush

An Open Letter to President George W. Bush

From Christian Peacemaker Teams in Hebron, West Bank

June 17, 2003

President George W. Bush

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington DC 20016 USA

Dear President Bush,

We are pleased to know that you support the right of students to obtain a university education free from government constraints, and we applaud your support for students' freedom of expression. We hope that the comments you made this week about Iranian students apply equally to Palestinian students attending Hebron University.

Since 1994, the Israeli government has imposed a variety of restrictions on students attending classes at Hebron University. The Israeli army have repeatedly sealed the main gates of the university and invaded the campus, using tear gas and live ammunition against unarmed students.

Recently, the military forced the university to close for six months and students are now required to attend classes in nearby schools, shops and homes instead of their own campus. They are prevented from using their library and technical laboratories, a situation clearly detrimental to the quality of their education.

On June 4th, the students broke open the sealed gate of their campus, so they could attend classes. They did this during your visit to the Aqaba discussions of your Roadmap to Peace, in the hope that their initiative in seeking an open educational institution would be seen as a step toward peace. Their opening of the university was accomplished nonviolently.

The students are determined to continue their education at Hebron University in an open atmosphere free from the fear, violence and restrictions of the Israeli military. The university administration has high praise for the student's use of nonviolent methods to continue their studies. They feel the right to an education is a basic one that should be available to all those who cherish knowledge and peace.

Here is a summary of the recent history of the situation at Hebron University:

a.. Hebron University closed for two weeks in January 2003 b.. Closure was thereafter extended for six months by Israeli army. c.. The gates were welded shut by the military on January 15th. d.. The university gates were opened by students on June 4th. e.. The Israeli army re-welded the university gates shut on June 10th. f.. The campus gates were cut open again by students on June 11th. Christian Peacemaker Teams have followed the situation at Hebron University since the beginning of its non-violence reduction program in Hebron in June 1995. We know that you value the importance of a university education. As you pursue the Roadmap to Peace, we hope you will champion the right of students at Hebron University to pursue their studies, free from the fear, restrictions and violence that mars their efforts to achieve a quality education.


Christian Peacemaker Teams

Hebron, West Bank

© Scoop Media

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