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Right to Education

A call from Palestinian Higher Education institutions- Do not be Silent during Israel’s Unfolding Genocide

A Unified Call for Justice and Freedom in Palestine

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We, the undersigned Palestinian higher education institutions from occupied Palestine unite in a call for justice, humanity, and an end to 75 years of Israel’s regime of settler-colonial oppression and apartheid. We stand resolute, determined to stop and overcome the relentless brutality that has deeply scarred our homeland during the ongoing Israeli bombings on Gaza and the military-settler attacks on our people, our homes, and our institutions across all of occupied Palestine.

Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment of our 2.3 million Palestinian civilians  in the occupied Gaza Strip, which has been besieged by Israel for the past 16 years, coupled with its  ban on the entry of water, food, medicine and fuel, has caused immeasurable suffering, with thousands of lives lost, one third of whom are children.

Israel’s deliberate targeting of entire neighborhoods, hospitals, schools, UN shelters, and universities constitutes a grave violation of international law. 

As of 25 October, According to UNOCHA, Israeli bombardment has struck 219 educational facilities, including at least 29 UNRWA schools.

Moreover, under international humanitarian law, ‘civilian objects’ such as educational sites cannot be targeted for attack. The Islamic University of Gaza was attacked along Al-Azhar University and other Universities by Israeli airstrikes.

In view of the continuing and escalating occupation violations in the West Bank, and due to fear of Israeli settlers’ assaults with more restrictions to Palestinians movement most Palestinian Universities switched to distance education starting 9 October. The universities in Gaza Strip, however, have been totally paralyzed, as a result of no electricity, no stable internet connection and the priority of all staff members and students to care for survival.

The cumulative effect of the bombardment has resulted in massive and ongoing killing of people many of whom are students, faculty and staff. It also caused displacement, and destruction, imperiling, even the possibility of access to education for generations of Gazan children and students into the indefinite future.

Israel is waging a genocidal war on our people, as described by leading Palestinian human rights organizations, more than 800 international scholars, the US-based Center for Constitutional Rights, Jewish civil society groupsHolocaust and genocide studies scholars and others who have by now warned of an imminent genocide against the Palestinian population in Gaza.

While the Israeli army is committing several crimes against Palestinians that fall within the purview of “war crimes,” “genocide,” “apartheid”, to name a few, we reiterate that it is crucial to place these measures within the wider framework of the occupation of Palestine and blockade on Gaza. As Palestinian national and political rights are denied, including the right to exist, resist, return, and most importantly the right to self-determination.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has explicitly affirmed the right of Palestinians to resist Israel’s military occupation, in harmony with international law. This right was affirmed in the context of the right to self-determination of all peoples under foreign and colonial rule. Some of the most relevant UN resolutions on this matter include UNGA Resolution 3314 (1974) and UNGA Resolution 37/43 (1982).

We also hold Israeli universities responsible, as they have been indispensable to the regime of settler colonial oppression and apartheid, complicit in grave violations of human rights including developing weaponry, military doctrines, and legal justification for the indiscriminate, mass targeting of Palestinians.

In light of the latest assault on Gaza, we call upon international academic institutions to take the following concrete actions immediately to end the genocidal war and Israeli settler colonialism.

  1. Call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, guaranteed by the UN           
  2. Urge immediate entry into Gaza of sufficient amounts of life-saving humanitarian needs (incl. water, food, fuel, medicine), equitably distributed throughout the whole territory of Gaza Strip.
  3. Demand UN protection for the 2.3 million Palestinian civilians trapped under siege in Gaza
  4. Issue clear positions rejecting any ethnic cleansing
  5. To support in dismantling the settler colonial and apartheid system and to achieve and a just, comprehensive, and lasting peace.

We urge the international academic community to fulfill its intellectual and academic duty to seek the truth and hold perpetrators of genocide accountable. Israeli universities, complicit in human rights violations, should face international isolation.

In unity and with unwavering determination, we declare that justice will prevail. We will not be silenced; we will resist, remember, and record. The world must recognize Zionism for what it is: a genocidal settler project built on false mythology and sustained through perpetual violence against Indigenous Palestinians

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