Palestinian university hit by Israel’s ‘arbitrary’ visa regime

Critics claim measures restrict ability of foreign staff to reach Birzeit and hinder Palestinians’ access to education

October 17, 2018
Source: istock
Palestinian university claims that restrictions on movement and visas are only increasing

The Friends of Birzeit University have condemned Israeli government measures that have prevented foreign staff taking up their posts.

In a letter to the British government urging it to “defend Palestinians’ right to education”, the group of supporters of the institution, based near Ramallah in the West Bank, describes how the university has been “particularly hard hit with 15 foreign passport-holding faculty members having had requests for visa renewals refused or significantly delayed”.

The group adds: “In June, seven faculty members had their visa renewals rejected. Many of these academics are Palestinian but denied residency rights, many have taught in the [occupied Palestinian territory] for years and hold senior positions at the university.”

The letter, also signed by leading educational unions, goes on to describe a more general “worsening trend in Israeli policies which limit access to the occupied Palestinian territory”, a “recent deterioration of the state of academic freedom” and “an increasingly onerous and arbitrary visa regime for foreign nationals teaching at Palestinian universities”.

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