US Academic Body Protests Israeli Directive Denying Palestinians Right to Education

A sit-in in front of Birzeit University. (File Photo: via Twitter)

The largest Middle East academic body in North America protested on Tuesday an Israeli directive denying Palestinians the right to education, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) said that it sent a letter to top Israeli officials, protesting Israel’s recently released directive, “Procedure for Entry and Residency of Foreigners in Judea and Samaria Region,” scheduled to take effect as policy in May 2022.

“Released by COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories), the policy vests the Israeli military with the unilateral power to select and exclude international faculty, academic researchers, and students who wish to teach, study, and conduct research at Palestinian universities,” MESA said in the letter.

The academic body, which asserted its commitment to ensuring academic freedom of expression, slammed the directive as “both an attempt to isolate Palestinian scholars and students from the international scholarly community and a form of censorship aimed at constraining the freedom of speech and association of international academics and students by denying them access to and engagement with Palestinian scholars and students, as well as professional and educational opportunities at Palestinian universities.”

“We condemn this proposed policy in the strongest terms as a clear escalation of the persistent efforts of your government to deny Palestinians the right to education.”

The academic body said that the fact that an occupying military force acts as an academic arbiter in the Israeli occupation institutions should not be accepted, while stressing that “this directive is but the most recent development in the ongoing constriction and violation of Palestinian academic freedom.”

MESA called upon the addressees to “reject these proposed policies and prevent their becoming law.”

Thousands of academics who are members of the MESA have voted a resolution that “endorses the Palestinian call for solidarity in the form of boycotts, divestment and sanctions.”

(The Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)

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