Archive for the Palestinian Education Category

Survey concerning Haifa University and its treatment of the Palestinian Students: A chronicle of discrimination and racism

Posted in Apartheid, Normalization, Palestinian Education, Why Boycott?!, Zionism on August 12, 2010 by Marcy Newman

Baladna Association for Arab Youth | August 2010


The reality of Haifa University is significantly remote from that of a campus based on values of academic freedom and action. The fact that in many cases the University acts as the extension of Israeli policy when addressing the Palestinian people as a whole indicates that the freedom of action is consciously limited, foremost when it comes to Palestinian students within the campus. This policy is expressed not only in issues relevant to freedom of action and expression but also in the processes for enrollment to universities, scholarship granting procedures as well as in the lectures themselves. In all of these cases it becomes clear that the general discriminative policy of Israeli governments can be identified with the decision-making procedure implemented by the University authorities.

University authorities, especially those of Haifa University, covering the highest number of Palestinian students, should hold immediate deliberation to lead to a new vision of the account of freedom of expression in Israel as well as the obligations of a campus in a multinational society. The indifference of Haifa University’s administration of the tense atmosphere within its campus, fully created under their responsibility, has come to destroy the value of freedom of speech. There is definite reason for serious concern that we will be facing a reality in which it will be too late to find a suitable solution.

This reality has dominated organizations of social change and human rights in Israel, especially Palestinian organizations. These organizations were apathetic to the human right violations of the Palestinian students especially when political parties like Beytenou felt the urge to implement their radical policies. Applying Lieberman’s policy is in fact a strike against universal values, the basis of civilized societies. This fact should trouble the Jewish population just as much as the continuation of integrating radical values into Jewish communities in Israel which has shown signs of failure in international politics.

Baladna’s Association for Arab Youth has been formulating a plan for the creation of a new discourse in all of the covered issues such as freedom of speech and action on campuses in Israel as well as prohibiting all forms of discrimination existent in the academic sphere. This discourse will be created together with Palestinian political groups within the campuses that work closely with promoting the rights of Palestinian students as well as the protection of Palestinian people’s rights.

To download the full report, click here.

Interview: “Israel has turned Gaza into the largest concentration camp in history”

Posted in Apartheid, Labor Organizing, Palestinian Economy, Palestinian Education, Why Boycott?!, Zionism on August 7, 2010 by Marcy Newman

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Interview with Haidar Eid

Founding member of the PCACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel).


The world was appalled by the Israeli massacre at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009. But then Gaza disappeared from Western news media. What is the situation today in Gaza, a year and a half after that genocidal attack?

To best describe the situation in Gaza today would be to refer to what Richard Falk, the UN rapporteur to the Occupied Territories, called “prelude to genocide” and what the Israeli anti-Zionist activist Ilan Pappe called a “slow-motion genocide.” Despite the fact that bombs are not falling over us every few minutes as they did during the 22 day genocidal war, when the Israelis bomb or attack, they do so to kill as many Palestinians as possible.

After the occupation redeployed its troops around Gaza in 2006, what was a Bantustan turned into the largest concentration camp since Auschwitz and Warsaw during WW II as a direct result of the brutal blockade. We have over 90 medicines unavailable. Prenatal births, kidney dialysis and cancer patients are doomed to fatality as soon as they are diagnosed. Unavailable medical equipments and appropriate medical care are extinct and the slightest flue could have serious repercussions. A four year old child would not know what spaghetti or chocolate taste like because Israel has a list of 40 basic items that it allows in. We are treated as prisoners, rather much worse. Jimmy Carter said “Palestinians of Gaza are treated worse than animals!”

We wish we were prisoners in a so-called First World country for at least they have visitation rights which we don’t. Some of us have not seen their families and relatives for years now, and they could be only 40 minutes away in Jerusalem or in the other Bantustans of the West Bank. As a university professor, I have no resources to undergo research in my domain. The material I assign to my students is what I could find available on the internet—and only when electricity allows. Basic material like stationary and paper are unavailable. Books are also unavailable. Fuel is unavailable and I have lost my best students as a result of the deterioration of their conditions.

Many of their parents were factory workers but after Israel bombed factories and due to its hermetic siege, over forty thousand workers have lost their income. The occupation shoots, injures and often kills farmers as they harvest or water their crops. The fishermen are not allowed to exceed three miles at sea and are attacked, imprisoned and often killed at a distance of one mile depending on the soldiers’ whims. You can’t sleep, you can’t write, you can’t love, you can’t express yourself, or your pain under these conditions and the trauma is only growing as injustice continues.

How was the Zionist attack on May 31st against the humanitarian flotilla seen in Gaza?

It was a surprise and not a surprise. Yes, Israel is a terrorist state. One built on the blood and dead bodies of the Palestinians it has been ethnically cleansing since 1948. So, it’s killing of peace activists was not a surprise. What was a surprise was that it did it as the whole world was watching. We did not expect Israel to be stupid, but then again, isn’t that what fascist states mean to do? Ploy their own destruction? Zionism is a colonial movement and hence it is self-defeating.

Can we say it was a political victory for the Palestinian people, since the true nature of Zionism was revealed and Israel is isolated? Did that have a role in the temporary suspension of the blockade by Egypt? What is the situation on the Egypt/Gaza border?

How many more people should be killed for Israel to be held accountable in front of the international community and punished for its crimes? Weren’t the 413 children killed during the 22 day attacks enough? Weren’t the thousands of Palestinian killed since 1967 enough for the international community to put Israel in its place? The international community is complicit in the siege and in the killing as it stands silent and in denial. Richard Goldstone very clearly called Israel’s attacks “war crimes and possible crimes against humanity!”

You are wrong to believe that the Rafah Crossing is open as the movement of people freely through is not allowed. Out of thousands a few hundreds are allowed, and their conditions are usually severe, and they have tried numerous times before that. If all the crossing surrounding Gaza were opened and Rafeh remained closed, then the siege remains. Rafeh is the only crossing that guarantees the freedom of movement of Gazans; it is our only exit to the external world.

The Israeli attack against the activists of the flotilla of the Free Gaza movement shocked everyone who feels respect for human beings. Why does Israel still blockade Gaza?

With the support of the international community and in particular the support of the US, Israel will not back down, it will continue the blockade, the settlement expansion, and the home demolitions in the West Bank. Its arrogance and power are to no limits and it won’t stop at anything until it is put in its place. As I mentioned earlier, the blockade is a continuation of Israel’s policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide that it has been practicing since 1948. We are a “surplus population”, like Native Americans, that should not have existed in the first place!

But the direct reason as to why it still blockades Gaza is that Palestinians, “naively” taking George Bush for his words about “spreading democracy in the Middle East”, went to the polling stations in January 2006 and voted a party that neither Israel nor the Us and Official Arab regimes want, a party that is against the Oslo Accords. That was a huge blow to the Bush doctrine and the peace industry. Hence the collective punishment by Israel, with the direct support and participation of the West.

Do you see any possibilities of gains for Palestinians through the so called peace process led by the Quartet (USA, ONU, EU, and Russia)?

Haven’t we learnt from Oslo and Camp David that Israel translates its military power onto the negotiation table? There will be and should be no peace without justice. That means for Israel to be punished for its war crimes and crimes against humanity and for the UN resolution 194 to be implemented and the return of all refugees who were expelled in the Nakba of 1948. No negotiation is possible between the executioner and the victim. After Gaza 2009, we no longer have faith in the international community, but in civil society. Due to the huge imbalance of power, Israel being the largest nuclear power in the region and owning the fourth largest army in the world on one hand, and Palestinians with stones and sometimes firecrackers called “rockets” on the other, the only way this imbalance could be overcome is to build on an international solidarity movement. There have been turning points in the Palestinian issue, with the First and Second Intifada, with Gaza 2009, and now the massacre against peace activists.

Similar to the growing international solidarity movement that lead to, amongst other pillars of struggle, the liberation of South Africa and the collapse of the racist apartheid regime, the liberation of Palestine is through this path. And what could be more powerful than the global BDS movement against Israel that has resulted in the South African dock workers boycotting apartheid Israel, the British UCU union of colleges and universities boycott, the Scottish and Irish trade unions, and also the achievements of brave student bodies in the US– such as the Hampshire college, UC, Berkeley, and the University of Michigan at Dearborne– that resulted in divestment from some companies that support Israel.

How is the Obama administration seen in Gaza?

The Obama administration is not different from Bush’s. When Obama gave his much talked about speech at Cairo University, very few people took him seriously. They were proven right only last week when he held the white flag before Netanyahu upon the latter’s visit to the White House. Israel is still expanding its settlements, ethnically cleansing Jerusalem, besieging Gaza, killing Palestinians and Internationals with the full support of the Obama administration. Obama never had a single word of sympathy with the murdered children and starving women of Gaza. The only difference between Obama and Bush, when it comes to Palestine, is only in style, not substance.

Do you believe the Arab and Muslim governments supported the Palestinian people against Israel all they should?

A defeatist attitude governs the official Arab regimes. The idea of an invincible Israel and the constant fear and need to satisfy the US are prevalent. The organization of Islamic conferences along with the Arab league have failed the Palestinian people and failed to put an end to this deadly siege. The mainstream and dominant political discourse in the Arab world is to make peace with Israel, no matter what this entails.

What is the importance of the BDS campaign (Boycott, De-invest, and Sanctions) to isolate Israel? Why is it important to establish a link between Israel and South African apartheid?

Our BDS campaign is modeled on the South African boycott campaign. Its importance emanates from the fact that there is a huge power imbalance between Israel and the Palestinians, similar to the imbalance between the apartheid regime and anti-apartheids campaign. The international community was called on to intervene and live up to its responsibilityagainst the racist regime. We expect the same. In the mid-70’s an UN resolution considered apartheid a crime against humanity. Israel is an apartheid state that discriminates against the 1.2 million Israelis of Palestinian descent. But the 2005 Palestinian call for BDS called also for the end of the military occupation and colonization of the 1967 areas and the return of refugees in accordance with UN resolution 194. In other words, the importance of the BDS emanates from the fact that it is a rights-based campaign and the fact that it addresses ordinary people all over the world, represented by civil society, to live up to their moral responsibility. The campaign is democratic, secular, inclusive and universal. It worked against the apartheid regime, and it is working now against apartheid Israel.

What is your view of the PNA? And of the political forces on the left such as PFLP and DFLP?

The PNA is the product of the Oslo Accords, which were signed in 1993 in betrayal of the aspirations of the Palestinian people. The PLO recognized Israel, whereas the latter refused to recognize the Palestinian people’s right to an independent state. Oslo gave the wrong impression that there are two equal parties fighting for border adjustments. Israel managed to get rid of the responsibility of administering heavily populated areas in the West Bank and Gaza, and has kept total control over the land, air and sea. Israeli occupation forces were redeployed and never withdrew.

The Oslo accords led to the creation of a neo-colonial administration at the expense of the PLO; an administration that does not have real power in spite of the flag, the national anthem, the presidencies, premierships and ministries: all mean absolutely nothing except a perpetuation of the occupation, but in a different gown. After 17 years of the “peace industry”, Gaza has been transformed into a large open-air prison, a concentration camp a la Auschwitz and Warsaw, and the West Bank has been sliced into three major Bantustans—but with no sovereignty whatsoever.

The most dangerous outcome of Oslo is that it has managed to pacify the Palestinian Left. Nothing is left of Palestinian Left! Most left-wing activist, and I mean the hard-core here, have been NGOized. This process of NGOization, interrelated with Osloization, aims at washing out any revolutionary consciousness that the left is supposed to safeguard and replace it with false consciousness characterized by a new discourse about “empowerment of the disfranchised, projects, proposals, culture of peace, negotiations…etc”.

Al-Quds University flouts own academic boycott

Posted in Apartheid, Normalization, Palestinian Education, Why Boycott?!, Zionism on August 7, 2010 by Marcy Newman

Jillian Kestler-D’Amours, The Electronic Intifada, 6 August 2010

Al-Quds University is maintaining a joint Israeli-Palestinian master’s degree program with Haifa, Hebrew and Tel Aviv universities, despite a decision taken by its own University Council in February 2009 to distance itself from Israeli academic institutions.

“[The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, PACBI] views this joint Palestinian-Israeli academic project as a clear violation of the Palestinian criteria for the academic boycott of Israel, which are widely supported by Palestinian civil society,” Omar Barghouti, a founding member of PACBI and the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign, told The Electronic Intifada.

“PACBI also believes that the timing of this announcement can only confirm the suspicion that it is intended to relieve Israel’s increasing isolation — after its criminal attack on the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla,” Barghouti explained.

Supported by the UN’s agency for education and culture, UNESCO and the Italian Development Cooperation (DGCS) in Jerusalem, the program in question is the third round of a joint master’s degree that would allow 20 Israeli and Palestinian students to study in Italy and learn about “cooperation, humanitarianism, peace and cultural preservation.” It is coordinated by Rome’s La Sapienza University.

This program is the result of the Declaration of Principles of Palestinian-Israeli International Cooperation in Scientific and Academic Affairs, which was signed in May 2004 by the Rector of the University of Rome La Sapienza and the Rectors and Presidents of five Israeli universities (Haifa University, Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Weizmann Institute of Science) and four Palestinian institutions (Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, Bethlehem University, Hebron University and the Palestine Polytechnic Institute) (download the Declaration of Principles [PDF]).

According to Hasan Dweik, Al-Quds University’s executive vice-president, shortly after the declaration was signed in 2004, all other Palestinian universities withdrew their cooperation in line with the academic boycott.

“At this time, we said that we, as Al-Quds University, would take the responsibility of running this course,” Dweik told The Electronic Intifada, from the university’s campus in Beit Hanina, occupied East Jerusalem.

“Now, and after the Israeli attack on Gaza [in winter 2008-09], my university took a position that we should stop and re-evaluate our cooperation projects with Israel because the horrible thing that took place in Gaza cannot pass like that. We said, ‘We need to stop and boycott the Israeli academic institutions,’ not because we wanted to boycott them but because we wanted to give a message to the Israeli public and to the international community,” Dweik said.

Indeed, on 2 February 2009, Al-Quds’ University Board voted to cut all forms of academic cooperation with Israeli academic institutions.

The board explained that the Israeli attack on Gaza, during which more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed (including more than 300 children), combined with settlement expansion in East Jerusalem and the intensification of restrictions in the rest of the West Bank, fueled the decision to gradually phase out the programs.

“It’s just basically to put some pressure on NGOs [non-governmental organizations] and academic institutions both in Israel, the United States and Europe, to pressurize Israel to bring about peace in our area. This was our intention,” Dweik said.

Still, he explained that while Al-Quds University will no longer enter into new academic initiatives with Israeli universities, it would not restrict extensions or the continuation of existing projects, such as the joint master’s program in Rome.

“Any program that started a few years ago will continue. It will not stop,” Dweik said, adding that the university chose not to impose a complete boycott on its faculty and staff because it wants to preserve “academic freedom.”

According to Barghouti, however, the academic freedom argument does not hold water. Instead, he said that joint Israeli-Palestinian academic programs legitimize Israeli colonial policies.

“Joint projects help provide Israeli universities with a crucial fig leaf to undermine the boycott. We often read a recurring theme in Israeli criticism of British and other academic unions that support the boycott: ‘Why are you trying to be more Palestinian than the Palestinians? If Palestinian academics themselves are cooperating with the Israeli academy, why do you want to boycott it instead of promoting joint collaborations and the free flow of ideas?'” Barghouti stated.

“This was the exact same — flawed and distinctly deceptive — logic used by South African apartheid in rebuking international boycotters, particularly in the academic and cultural fields.”

A history of collaboration

The official Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was launched in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank in April 2004.

Since that time, nearly 60 Palestinian civil society organizations have signed onto the PACBI boycott initiative, including the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees, the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions and the General Union of Palestinian Women, among others.

The Palestinian Council for Higher Education, a group established in 1977 with the mandate of coordinating between, and representing, Palestinian higher-learning institutions, has also repeatedly reaffirmed that it is against cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian academic institutions.

Still, in May 2005, Al-Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh continued to ignore the growing call for an academic boycott, as he and Hebrew University of Jerusalem President Menachem Magidor released a joint statement denouncing the British Association of University Teachers’ (AUT) decision to boycott Israeli academic institutions.

“Cognizant of the moral leadership universities should provide, especially in already turbulent political contexts, we … have agreed to insist on continuing to work together in the pursuit of knowledge, for the benefit of our peoples and the promotion of peace and justice in the Middle East,” the statement read.

The statement added: “Our disaffection with, and condemnation of acts of academic boycotts and discrimination against scholars and institutions, is predicated on the principles of academic freedom, human rights and equality between nations and among individuals.”

According to Anan Quzmar, the Coordinator of Birzeit University’s Right to Education Campaign, which demands “the right to education and unimpeded access for all Palestinians to their educational institutions,” all forms of cooperation with Israeli academic institutions should be severed.

“We simply cannot support Palestinian universities working with Israeli institutions under any circumstances while those same institutions either endorse of fail to condemn the ongoing denial of Palestinians’ basic human rights,” Quzmar said.

He added that Palestinian students are strongly in favor of the academic boycott, and are working on campaigns to gain international support.

“Recently a statement against any form of normalization was signed by all student councils in universities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and all major Palestine student and youth organizations around the world,” Quzmar said.

“Palestinian students have long supported an academic boycott on Israeli academic institutions and stood against any collaboration between Palestinian academic institutions and Israeli ones. I would go as far as saying that the academic boycott is the most widely supported form of boycott in the Palestinian society.”

Complicity in the occupation

According to a report released by the Alternative Information Center in October 2009 titled “Academic Boycott of Israel and the Complicity of Israeli Academic Institutions in Occupation of Palestinian Territories,” “Israeli academic institutions have not opted to take a neutral, apolitical position toward the Israeli occupation but to fully support the Israeli security forces and policies toward the Palestinians, despite the serious suspicions of crimes and atrocities hovering over them.”

The report found that all main Israeli universities are involved in supporting the occupation through various means.

For instance, the three universities involved with the joint master’s program with Al-Quds University — Tel Aviv, Haifa and Hebrew University — have sponsored various academic programs for Israeli military reserves, granted scholarships to students who served in the Israeli attack on Gaza and maintain ties to leading Israeli weapons manufacturers. Indeed, a report released by a student group at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies demonstrated Tel Aviv University’s “deep investment in the facilitation and prosecution (at both the material and conceptual level) of what amount to war crimes” (“Study: Tel Aviv University part and parcel of the Israeli occupation,” SOAS Palestine Society, 9 July 2009).

Dweik told The Electronic Intifada that Al-Quds University is presently involved with about ten joint Israeli-Palestinian projects, and that university faculty members, researchers and administrators will meet to re-evaluate these existing projects every two to three months.

This review will include the Israeli-Palestinian Master’s program in Italy, which Dweik said will almost certainly go ahead despite the destructive influence he readily admitted such projects have on the lives of Palestinians under Israeli occupation.

“If you look at all the environment now, it does not help at all having cooperation with the Israelis,” he said. “I think the Israelis use [joint academic programs] in the media to say that things are normal and we are cooperating. I think it helps them internationally.”

According to Quzmar, all Palestinian universities must take a stand against joint academic initiatives, especially when it is clear how such projects legitimize Israel’s systematic violations of Palestinian rights.

“Palestinian universities and students are suffering every single day from the abuses of an absurd occupation,” he said. “To object to the collaboration with those who support this occupation is a very small step and simple step, especially that such collaboration can be so dangerous in allowing Israeli academia the opportunity to whitewash its support to the very same occupation Palestinian academia suffers under.”

Originally from Montreal, Jillian Kestler-D’Amours is a human rights activist and multimedia journalist currently based in occupied East Jerusalem.

Academic & Cultural Boycott Reader

Posted in Apartheid, Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, Palestinian Education, Why Boycott?!, Zionism on July 13, 2010 by Marcy Newman
View this document on Scribd


Posted in Apartheid, Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, Normalization, Palestinian Education, Why Boycott?!, Zionism on July 8, 2010 by Marcy Newman

Besieged Gaza, Palestine

06. July.2010


Over and over again, champions of the boycott movement have condemned cooperation with apartheid Israel in acts of normalization. We, the Palestinian Students Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel and the University Teachers’ Association in Palestine, have adamantly and insistently written to artists, musicians, writers and student bodies urging them to cancel concerts, refuse prizes, and divest from companies cooperating with Israel’s racist institutions and government.

Not more than a week ago, it came to our attention that the Italian Development Cooperation (DGCS), with the support of UNESCO, engineered the partnership of three Israeli universities with that of Al-Quds University in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in a Masters programme that allows 20 Israeli and Palestinian students to participate in learning about “cooperation, humanitarianism, peace, and cultural preservation” amongst other things. The program is to be coordinated by La Sapienza University in Rome.

We are appalled that this project is being carried out in spite of Israel’s indiscriminate killings of civilian Palestinians in Gaza 2009 in acts of “war crimes and crimes against humanity;” and in spite of Israel’s destruction of Palestinian Universities in Gaza, its military occupation of the West Bank, and its policy of racial discrimination against the indigenous population of Palestine 1948.

Most Israeli academic institutions, including the Hebrew University, Haifa, and Tel Aviv University are built on stolen land; they don’t recognize the Palestinian Nakba of 1948, and are complicit in the Apartheid policies of the state of Israel against the 1948 Palestinians—not to mention the siege on Gaza and the occupation of the West Bank.

In sending Palestinian students over to Italy in order to have them learn about “peace making and cooperation” with a state that killed their grandparents, ethnically cleansed the land of their forbearers, and demolishes their houses is an insult to the Palestinian struggle against Israeli apartheid and occupation. This act of normalization aims to blur the boundaries between oppressor and oppressed, colonizer and colonized, occupier and occupied, executioner and victim, and ultimately aims at whitewashing Israel’s war crimes, the last of which was committed in the high seas against international peace activists on their way to break the deadly hermetic siege of Gaza. The projected program speaks about “peace and cooperation” without mentioning Israel’s gross violation of human rights, and deals with the Palestine question as one of conflict, rather than one of colonization and apartheid. It does not mention Israel being the only nuclear power in the region, owning the fourth strongest army in the world. It claims to be about “peace and humanitarianism” without a mention of justice and accountability. Therefore, it is a sham, an insult to the spilt blood of tens of thousands of murdered Palestinians, including students, since 1948.

On another note, we, as Palestinian Students and teachers, would accept this course only if it does not include cooperation with Israeli universities. We ask: is the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe’s book about the 1948 Nakba The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine an essential course text book in this MA program? Is there a course about the end of apartheid in South Africa and lessons that students can learn from the South African experience? Does the program include a discussion of Palestinian right of self-determination and right of return?

Israel must abide by International Law and end its policy of occupation, colonization and apartheid. That is our understanding of peace with justice.

The Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI)
University Teachers’ Association in Palestine (UTAP)
PSCABI ◌ Gaza, Palestine

Webpage: ◌ Email: pscabi[at]

Student council calls on peers to support goods boycott

Posted in Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, Palestinian Economy, Palestinian Education on May 19, 2010 by Marcy Newman

Nablus – Ma’an – University student councils offered their full support for the Palestinian Authority boycott of settlement goods on Wednesday, vowing to ensure students implement the embargo.

Head of the An-Najah University student senate Makram Daraghmeh said all Palestinian universities would organize events and activties in the coming days, aimed at encouraging students to participate in the boycott.

“The decision will build and pave the way for the boycott of all Israeli products in the future. It is a decision in favor of popular resistance against the occupation,” Daraghmeh said.

On Tuesday the PA launched the House to House campaign, which will see nearly 3,000 volunteers go door-to-door to distribute pamphlets on how to implement the embargo on settlement goods.

The first leaflet hand-delivered to West Bank residents contained a full list of products, manufacturers and factories producing on illegal West Bank settlements.

In January Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced that the PA would implement a wide-scale boycott of the illegal produce, creating the National Dignity Fund aimed at supporting the move and encouraging Palestinian and international consumers to opt for locally made Palestinian produce instead.

Gaza student denied travel to conference

Posted in Apartheid, Palestinian Education, Why Boycott?!, Zionism on May 17, 2010 by Marcy Newman

Published today (updated) 17/05/2010 19:11

Bethlehem – Ma’an – A Palestinian student from Gaza was barred from traveling on Monday to an international conference in the Czech Republic due to the ongoing closure of the coastal enclave’s borders.

Rifat Abd Elaal, an engineering student at the Islamic University in Gaza, was due to attend the International Youth Leadership Conference in Prague, sponsored by the Czech government, the EU, the UN, and Price Waterhouse Cooper.

Speaking with Ma’an, Abd Elaal said he had attempted all avenues available to him to procure a visa, which can be obtained at the Czech Consulate in Ramallah, Tel Aviv or Cairo. However, due to the ongoing siege imposed by Israel, he was unable to travel to any of them.

The Czech Consulate proposed that he apply via email to request a visa without going through the formal interview process, given the restriction of movement faced by him and the population of Gaza, but he said he has yet to receive a response.

Despite the difficulties in obtaining a visa, Abd Elaal is instant on attending the conference and has asked the International Youth Leadership Conference to allow him to attend when it next convenes in July.

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