Birzeit University calls for concrete action to end Israeli colonialism and apartheid

Birzeit University strongly protests Israel’s brutal attacks on all segments of Palestinian society, including its latest ruthless assault on the two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, killing over 250, and injuring over 2000 men, women and children. Israel’s militarized police forces have also viciously assaulted thousands of worshipers in the Al-Aqsa mosque and its compound. They have brutally repressed protests by Palestinian families and their many supporters in Sheikh Jarrah, against ongoing attempts to forcibly expel them from their homes to hand them over to Israeli settlers in blatant violation of international humanitarian law. Israel violently suppressed the demonstrations of Palestinians in areas occupied in 1948.

It is widely recognized that this is only one chapter in the long history of ethnic cleansing in Palestine that started with the 1948 Nakba. Indeed, it is an ongoing Nakba of systematic denial of our inalienable rights under international law.

Birzeit University has a long history of resisting colonialism, and has historically acted as a center for national struggle and liberation.  Twenty-eight Birzeit University students were murdered by Israeli soldiers, and more than 920 were arrested over the past 20 years. Birzeit University’s students and staff continue to assert their right to resist colonialism, and thus have been engaging in protesting this latest round of colonial atrocities.  Israeli soldiers’ aggression led to the injuring of our colleague Dr. Lena Meari of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Birzeit University in addition to a number of students.  

Dr. Meari was deliberately targeted with a sound bomb by the Israeli occupation forces while protesting at the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem last Saturday. The bomb hit her head causing injury to the skull.

What happened to Dr. Meari is part and parcel of Israel’s colonial control and oppression of the Palestinian people. Palestinians are denied the right to even peacefully resist or protest Israel’s decades-old system of apartheid, military occupation, and settler-colonialism. Are we expected to accept dispossession from our lands, systemic racism and the destruction of our lives by Israel with open arms? Human Rights Watch recently published a damning legal analysis of Israel’s regime against the Palestinian people concluding that it meets the international definition of apartheid. While Amnesty International responded to the latest Israeli massacre by stating that “Israel’s attacks on residential homes in Gaza must be investigated for war crimes.”[1] Resisting Israeli colonialism and Apartheid is our unquestionable right.

We strongly condemn Israeli academic institutions that are indispensable partners in this regime of settler colonial oppression and apartheid. They have actively participated in the machinery of oppression. They are complicit in numerous grave violations of human rights including, developing weaponry, military doctrines, and the “ethical” codes that justify the indiscriminate targeting of Palestinian civilians. Thus these academic institutions must be shunned by the international academic community.  

We call upon all people of conscience worldwide, including academics, to join the growing demands on governments to immediately institute a two-way arms embargo on Israel.

We call upon academic institutions and academics worldwide to boycott Israel and its complicit academic institutions, until it complies with its obligations under international law and by ending its regime of settler colonialism, occupation, and apartheid and respecting the right of return for Palestinian refugees.  

We also call on academics to conduct their scholarship on Palestine ethically; by refusing terminology that does not reflect the reality of Palestinians, highlighting Palestinian voices and academics, and by refusing censorship of Palestinian scholars or those who support Palestine.