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Liverpool Guild of Students has announced that they have re-twinned with the Student Council at Birzeit University .
The twinning began in 2006 but lapsed last year before being brought to the student council again, who supported the motion, which was then passed unanimously by the trustee board on 8th December.
The Liverpool Guild of Students said the twinning “allows us here in Britain to promote and support friendship and academic links, enabling us to learn from each others experiences.”
The main aims are said to be supporting education and promoting Human Rights, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to education”.
Students in Palestine are often prevented from accessing education by the Israeli occupation, as checkpoints, attacks on Universities and limitations on movement are put in place.
The existence of road blocks and travel restrictions in Palestinian territories has been labelled by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs as “a primary cause of the humanitarian crisis” which “restricts Palestinian access… to basic services such as health and education.”
The Liverpool Guild of Students notes that the International Court of Justice declared the construction of a wall by Israel that divides Palestinian territories to be “contrary to international law”, partly due to the lack of access to education and healthcare.
From April 2001 to December 2003, with two interruptions, an Israeli roadblock was in place near Birzeit University and since its dismantling checkpoints have been in place.
The Guild’s statement says “Education is critical to the healthy functioning of Palestinian society, as well as the possibility of peace and reconciliation between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.”
“It is the responsibility of governments, civil society organizations and ordinary people to defend the universal right to education and to demand its realisation.”
There has therefore been a resolution to twin with Birzeit University Council and support their “Right to Education” campaign.
This will be done by “organising meetings, conferences, speaking tours and in the future visits to and from Palestine.”
The twinning has received criticism from some on campus, who claim it is a negative “politicising” of the Guild, whereas others have viewed the move positively.
Article originally appeared in Liverpool Student media.
Millie Kidson – Millie is now in her third year, studying English and Business Studies. She is secretary of the English Society, and has been a News Editor since March 2010. She is a lover of all things politics, has written for a local newspaper and runs three blogs. Originally from Gloucestershire, she is happiest in her wellies, but loves Liverpool for its live music, art and cocktails. Her weaknesses are old Penguin books, cameras and a good cup of tea.