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Letter from Birzeit University’s Right to Education Campaign to Stirling University Students Association
Birzeit University and the Right to Education Campaign support the efforts of Stirling University students in opposing Israel’s illegal and violent occupation and its attacks against and obstruction of Palestinian education. As recognized in the motions to Stirling University Students Association (SUSA), it is very important for the students of Birzeit to know that they are supported by their fellow students around the world. We believe that this kind of gesture of solidarity is crucial to raising international awareness about the issues facing Palestinian students under military occupation, and pressuring the Israeli government to bring an end to 38 years of illegal military occupation and its attacks on Palestinian students and their educational institutions.
The systematic obstruction of Palestinian education by the Israeli military occupation not only violates the human rights of individuals, it is an attack on the development of Palestinian society as a whole. Birzeit University has been closed down by Israeli military order 15 times in its history. All Palestinian universities and the majority of schools, including kindergartens, were closed down by military order between the years 1987-1992, denying a whole generation their right to education. Over the last 5 years, 8 universities and some 300 schools have been shelled, shot at or raided by the Israeli Army, including Birzeit University. Between 2001-2003, Birzeit University was sealed off by an Israeli Army roadblock and today the road to Birzeit remains subject to frequent arbitrary roadblocks which harass and prevent students and faculty trying to reach the University. As of 1 October 2005, there are 107 Birzeit University students held in Israeli prisons and military detention centers.
International solidarity and support, particularly from student and teachers unions, academic institutions and solidarity movements around the world, are vital. We depend on our friends in the international academic community to help us fight against the immense barriers to education imposed by the occupation and to support the resilience and capacities of Birzeit University to build and continue in the face of extreme adversity. Ultimately, as the motions put to SUSA emphasize, the struggle for the right to education is a struggle for all human rights. There can be no academic freedom – or any other kind of freedom – without an end to the occupation.
Finally, we would like to underline how important it is that that the students and people of Scotland stand beside us in the struggle for a free Palestine and all our hopes for a peaceful future based on equality, democracy and justice. It is to this end that we look forward to building a bridge of friendship between the students of Stirling and Birzeit Universities.
Right to Education Campaign