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In its relentless campaign to divide Jerusalem from the West Bank, Israel has seized Al-Quds University’s main campus grounds in Abu Dis to continue construction of the “security wall” in an increasingly blatant effort to impose an apartheid system on the Palestinian people. The Wall will cut through the University splitting it in two and will result in the confiscation of a third of the University’s grounds, approximately 70 dunums.
According to Sari Nusseibeh, the University president, the Wall will be built on invaluable land, part of which contains specially preserved pinewood while the rest was intended for constructing sports facilities and a botanical garden. Moreover, the erection of a high cement wall will disrupt the lives of almost 6000 students who will effectively be denied access by the Israeli military of half of their campus. The overwhelming sight of this forcibly constructed barrier will serve as a constant reminder of the oppression of the Palestinian people.
The decision by Israel to cut through the Al-Quds University campus is clearly political and strategic in nature, intended to create unnecessary hardship on Palestinians and fuel their resentment. The Wall could easily be built without having to destroy the heart of the campus and in fact Al-Quds University has repeatedly proposed to the Israeli municipality to allow the Wall itself to be the western wall of the campus. Such proposals have fallen on deaf ears despite the fact that the “security” imperative would not be affected. It is fully within Israel’s power to reduce the hardship on Al-Quds University and show good faith towards its desire for peace.
Al-Quds University actively campaigns to encourage Israeli-Palestinian academic cooperation. The building of the Wall would serve in direct opposition to the positive educational values propagated at the University, such as breaking down barriers and building bridges of understanding in order to enhance the prospects for peace.
The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH) urges Israel to reconsider its actions. Bearing in mind the immeasurable damage the construction of such a Wall bear and the concomitant consequences. MIFTAH calls on all academics, including Israelis, to oppose such an unreasonable and oppressive assault on Palestinian education.
Finally, MIFTAH calls on the international community to strongly condemn Israel’s “security wall,” which from the first completed phase only has created unimaginable hardship on the Palestinian people while undeniably establishing de facto borders and symbolizing the oppression and subjugation of Palestinians.
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