*Update (29/08/2016). It has been confirmed to us that the student exchange with the Hebrew University is not going ahead. We were not given reasons behind this decision but we are pleased to hear the latter.*
KCL Action Palestine has been informed that the Law School is exploring potential year abroad partnerships for its Law with Transnational Legal Studies LLB degree. Among these, the Hebrew university appears to be an option.
As a society committed to upholding and promoting the academic boycott of Israeli institutions until apartheid is dismantled, we would like to ask the school of Law to consider with utmost seriousness any sort of partnership with the Hebrew University.
The Hebrew University university is partly built on occupied land seized by Israel in their 1968 illegal confiscation of 3345 dunums of Palestinian land and contains an army base on its campus. This has been repeatedly denounced by the international community as illegal, including by the UN Security Council, and is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Hebrew university also offers preferential treatment for students serving in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), which engages in daily violations of Palestinian human rights in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem.
The university is also complicit in the unequal treatment of Palestinians, including those who are citizens of Israel. For instance, it does not provide teaching services to the residents of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas in contrast to those provided to Jewish groups, and no courses are offered in Arabic. Additionally, the Hebrew University has chosen to remain silent when the entire population of Gaza has been excluded from the possibility to enrol and study in the university by the Israeli government. Palestinian students from Gaza have a better chance of getting into a university in the U.S than into Hebrew University.
The above actions in which the Hebrew university is complicit are in clear breach of international law and standard ethical standards that King’s College London upholds as an institution. Moreiver, it should be noted that both the National Union of Students and KCLSU have in the past taken the position to not co-operate with institutions complicit in the dispossession of Palestinians from their homeland and has demanded KCL to do the same.
As Palestinians face systemic violence, unlawful imprisonment, denial of their right to return, and the illegal confiscation of their land, it is morally wrong for us to associate ourselves with and send our students to study at an institution complicit in these crimes.
It would be ironic to offer a degree in Transnational Legal Studies at a university involved in transnational illegality.
For these reasons, we kindly ask the school to reconsider the links it might desire having with the Hebrew University . Students, academics and staff at SOAS overwhelmingly voted last year to break their links with the Hebrew University – there is no need for us to do this if we don’t establish the links in the first place.
Further, at present KCL has not built on any links with Palestinian universities, despite committing to do so in 2009 after the successful occupation of the Nash Lecture theatre.
We would rather welcome and celebrate any steps by KCL to fulfill such promise.
KCL Action Palestine
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