A 30-year-old college in the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel in the West Bank was recently given university status, following a recommendation by Israel’s education minister.
Israeli settlements in Palestinian lands are considered illegal under international law.
The move is seen by Palestinians as a considerable setback and further evidence of the illegal Israeli settlers ‘digging in’ to the Palestinian lands they occupy by force.
The move has been condemned by many educationalists, including 1,000 Israeli academics, who signed a petition against it. “We are against the attempt by the government of Israel to use academic institutions to further a political agenda which we are very much against, which is the establishment of the settlements and the occupation as a permanent thing in Israel,” Nir Gov of the Weizmann Institute of Science, who launched the initiative, was quoted as saying. The institution is open to all Israeli citizens, including Israeli Arabs. However, despite being situated on what is, under international law, Palestinian land, like other Israeli universities, it will refuse admission to members of the local Palestinian population.