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Today, as tens of thousands of Israeli university students report for the first day of the academic year – hundreds of students in Gaza are being prevented from reaching their university classes abroad by an Israeli policy banning students from leaving Gaza. Many of these talented young people have been waiting for over a year for permission to reach their classes. Since June 2007, Israel’s policy of closure of the Gaza Strip has prevented students and 1.5 million other civilians from entering or leaving Gaza to fulfill their professional, academic, and personal goals.
Gisha sought to inform the Israeli public of the policy banning students from leaving Gaza through paid radio advertisements in which Israeli celebrities recounted their personal stories of university study and noted the importance of access to education for everyone, Israelis and Palestinians – but Israel’s Broadcast Authority refused to air the advertisements, claiming that they are “politically and ideologically controversial”. Censored from the air waves, Gisha has turned to the Internet. Today we launched a Hebrew-language Internet campaign to coincide with the beginning of the academic year, reminding the Israeli public and Israeli decision-makers of the talented Palestinian students whose right to freedom of movement and to access education is being violated by the continued closure of the Gaza Strip. The banners will appear on the Israeli news websites Ha’aretz and Ynet for the next three days, and those who click on them will hear the censored radio ad.
Please follow this link for an English-language voice-over of the radio ads, courtesy of Oxfam-GB.
Please follow this link for answers to Frequently Asked Questions (English) about students trapped in Gaza.
We congratulate Israeli students on the start of their university classes – and ask Israel’s government to allow Palestinian students in Gaza to reach their university classes too.