Israeli Occupation bars Palestinian academic from Birzeit University teaching position

Israeli occupation authorities blocked professor Amro Issa Omar Sourani from entering the occupied West Bank to lecture over the coming academic year in Birzeit University’s Department of Engineering.

University officials said that occupation authorities refused to grant Sourani, who is currently based in the United Kingdom, and his family an entry permit to the West Bank to begin his contract as a lecturer in the university even though the professor holds a Palestinian identity card and is originally from the Gaza Strip. 

Civil Engineering Department head Mervat Bulbul said that Sourani received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Birzeit University in 1998 and was looking forward to returning to the university as a lecturer to share his broad knowledge with Palestinian students.

“Civil Engineering considered Sourani a quality addition to the already existing staff,” she said, “because of his PhD degree in a field that is new to our university.”

Birzeit University condemned the arbitrary measures enforced against Palestinian academics living abroad who are often denied the right to enter their homeland and work in Palestinian institutions. The Civil Engineering Department exerted enormous efforts to avoid the permit denial by providing all documents required to obtain an entry permit.

Birzeit University called on international institutions and legal bodies, both locally and globally, to denounce these measures and arbitrary policies against Palestinian educational institutions and Palestinians residing abroad. It further called for pressure on the occupation authorities to stop its racist measures against the educational system in Palestine. 

The university also called on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to play its role by criticizing Israeli occupation measures, which violate Palestinians’ right to education, and demanded that the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) move at the highest levels possible to put an end to occupation authorities’ intrusion in the educational process in Palestine.

Birzeit University stated, moreover, that the Israeli aggression would not discourage its staff and administration from promoting enlightenment and education by graduating students who will form the backbone of an independent Palestinian state. The university said that a quality education remains a weapon used to confront the Israeli occupation and that this most recent incident will not stop it from recruiting the finest Palestinian academics to share their invaluable experience with all Palestinian students. 

Finally, the administration expressed its deep distress at losing Sourani and his indispensable scientific knowledge, which would have provided a great opportunity for the students of Birzeit and Palestine.