Members of the Spanish Parliament visit Birzeit University

A Spanish parliamentary delegation visited Birzeit University on January 17, 2018. The delegation met with a team of the university’s administration and a number of students and faculty members who presented a clear picture of the academic situation at the university, in particular, and at Palestinian universities as a whole, in addition to the difficulties faced by higher education institutions under the Israeli occupation.

The delegation –  whose visit is a part of Spanish initiatives to support the Palestinian cause and presents an opportunity to examine the Israeli violations of Palestinian rights up close – met with the university’s administration, represented by Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Faisal Awadallah; Vice President for Community Affairs Dr. Asem Khalil; and Assistant to the President Dr. Abdel Aziz Shawabkeh.

The administration gave a brief introduction on the history and establishment of Birzeit University, its faculties, and the academic programs that it offers. The administration also highlighted the university’s social responsibility and stressed its interest in building bridges with various universities around the world.

The administration’s representatives also emphasized the importance of this meeting in displaying the everyday struggles of Palestinians in general, and college students in particular. Israeli checkpoints and obstacles, said the team, have limited the freedom of movement for students and prevented many of them from reaching Birzeit University. Israeli laws have also limited foreign scholars and professors from accessing the university and barred Gazan students from attending West Bank universities.

The delegation of Spanish parliament members also met with a number of the university’s students, faculty members, and representatives the student body council. In the meeting, they discussed the political realities in Palestine and the disruptive Israeli activities that affect them.

Students discussed the Israeli-placed obstacles that affect their academic careers, such as preventing lab materials from reaching the university campus, and the constant arrests made by the Israeli army, which occur without due process.