News / Middle East

Group of Israeli Academics Move to Support Palestinian Plight

The Ariel college is seen in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ariel, 02 Feb 2010. The planned upgrade of the college, which already calls itself a "university center," with 8,700 full-time and 2,500 part-time students, is perhaps the most controversial
The Ariel college is seen in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ariel, 02 Feb 2010. The planned upgrade of the college, which already calls itself a "university center," with 8,700 full-time and 2,500 part-time students, is perhaps the most controversial

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Cecily Hilleary

It was just a couple of months ago that a group of actors, playwrights and other performing artists refused to perform in a new arts center in the West Bank settlement of Ariel. Now, more than 160 Israeli academics have signed a petition boycotting Israeli’s Ariel University Center of Samaria, located in the same settlement. The letter’s co-signers say they oppose the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the establishment of Israeli settlements. The letter also states that only a few miles away from Ariel, Palestinians live in what it terms “unbearable” living conditions, without “basic human rights.”

The letter was initiated by Dr. Nir Gov, professor of chemical physics at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovet, Israel. He spoke with VOA’s Cecily Hilleary from his office in Rehovet.

Listen to the full interview with Nir Gov:

Hilleary: What was your motive?

Nir Gov, initiator of petition, hopes it will do its part to help end the West Bank occupation by Israel and bring about a two-state solution
Nir Gov, initiator of petition, hopes it will do its part to help end the West Bank occupation by Israel and bring about a two-state solution

Gov: The long-range motive that we have is to try to shorten as much as possible the duration of the occupation, to hasten as much as possible the ending of the occupation of the West Bank, and bringing about the division of this land between the Israelis and the Palestinians in a two-state, peaceful solution.

More realistically, we thought that this time is an opportunity to continue the momentum which was already started by the artists in Israel, [who] boycotted Ariel and have shown that actually, this consensus which has been shown about the inevitability of these settlements as something which is here to stay and cannot be changed is actually a fake consensus.

Hilleary: How large a settlement is Ariel?

Gov: Ariel has a few tens of thousands [of] settlers, and the college has about 10,000 students, so it’s not insignificant. But we think that it is extremely able to be taken down, and this is not something which is impossible to do. The removal of the settlements, even a large settlement like Ariel - with the college included - is something that Israel can do and must do, if it wants to reach that division of this land.

Hilleary: What has the government’s response been to your letter?

Gov: The official response that was voiced in public by the Ministry of Education was that they are very much against any sort of boycott and that they are very sorry that we took this action.

There was, unfortunately and very surprisingly, a reaction by the organization of the heads of the universities in Israel, the researching organization which basically is a committee where all the university heads meet [the Committee of University Heads in Israel].

The committee is headed by [Professor Rivka Carmi] the President of Ben Gurion University in the Negev. And they voiced their opposition to this action, which I thought was surprising, and the other academics thought was surprising, because this committee is usually dealing only with higher education issues and not with political matters.

And, by their reaction, they basically place themselves as supporters of the college in the settlement, which I think is a very problematic position for them to [take].”

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid