Recent Updates

September 2020

National Public Radio: What Does It Take for a Palestinian American Baby to Travel from Israel to the US?

This summer, California native Morgan Cooper delivered a healthy baby girl at the home she shares with her Palestinian American husband Saleh Totah in the West Bank city of Ramallah. But according to Israel, which occupies the West Bank, their baby Lourice did not officially exist.

Since Israel occupied the Palestinian territories in 1967, Israel has kept track of their population. Now an estimated 70,000 newborns aren’t in Israel’s registry, and Israeli border authorities will not let them leave.

Read the full article here.

August 2020

Right to Enter: Update for 3rd States, 12 August, 2020

We further stress that these latest problems occur in the context of Israel’s continued freeze on family unification for families with foreign nationals, and Israel’s on-going failure to provide a transparent, internationally lawful and consistently applied policy and accompanying procedures for foreign nationals seeking to enter or extend visas in the oPt. This situation continues to cause harm to local institutions, including institutions of higher education, as well
as the break-up or coerced emigration of families.

We therefore urge third States to scrutinise the international lawfulness, the clarity and transparency, and the consistent application of any new policy and accompanying procedures, as well as any temporary measures issued and applied by the GoI/COGAT for the purpose of regulating entry and presence in the oPt, and to formally object to any attempts by the occupying power to regulate entry and presence of foreign nationals in the oPt in a manner contrary to its international obligations.

Read the full letter here.

Journal of Theoretical Inquiries in Law: How the Law of Return Creates One Legal Order in Palestine

A case-law study regarding family life between spouses and their children in Palestine: “Contrary to the legal literature, the Israeli Supreme Court has never recognized the right of family life of the Palestinians as a legal right and the deportation, fragmentation and separation of Palestinian families has been its main policy since 1948.”

“As Justice Cheshin ruled in Adalah that the “key to the gate” belongs to the absolute discretion of the state and is not a matter of insiders’ rights, Justice Shamgar, in 1986, stated:

The State of Israel is not willing to accept a situation in which any resident of the region who so wishes can marry a woman from outside and bring her here, or any [female] resident of the region, or her family, can decide that she will marry someone living abroad and bring him to the region. The decision about who will enter and who will settle in one of the regions (Judea and Samaria, or the Gaza Strip) is a matter for the government’s decision, and no resident is entitled to impose his private decision on the government in this matter.

Read the full article here.

June 2020

Right to Enter: Letter to 3rd States Regarding Visa Situation of Foreign Nationals in the oPt, 22 June 2020

“It would appear, in light of the above facts, that reliable written guarantees are needed from the competent Israeli authorities that, in the absence of coordination and functioning mechanisms for visa extensions, foreign nationals overstaying valid visas will not be penalised. This would be the only way for foreign nationals to currently rest assured that they can stay with their families in the oPt, remain in active employment with their relevant institutions and organisations in the oPt, and /or avoid hazardous travel with no guarantee of an ability to coordinate return at any time in the reasonable future. It would also appear that guarantees would only be reliable if they do not in any way depend on an applicant’s ability to obtain any documentation from the PA in relation to application submissions.”

Read the full letter here.

May 2020

Right to Enter: Letter to American Citizen Services, US Embassy Jerusalem

“We are writing regarding information sent to US citizens on 30 April about the COVID19 extension of Israeli visa validity and in particular the notice that the automatic extension to 30 June does not apply to visitor permits for US citizens in the West Bank. We would like to understand the source of this information as it contradicts information provided by Israel’s Civil Administration and the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT)…”

Read the full letter here.

November 2019

UPDATE: Birzeit University continues to lose international faculty as Israel persists in discriminatory policy

“Heightened restrictions on Birzeit University’s right to hire and maintain international faculty persist into the 2019-2020 academic year. Israel has escalated what can only be understood as a policy whose ultimate goal is the elimination of any international faculty presence at Palestinian universities.”

Read the full statement here.

Human Rights Watch: “Israel: Supreme Court Greenlights Deporting Human Rights Watch Official.”

“The Supreme Court has effectively declared that free expression in Israel does not include completely mainstream advocacy for Palestinian rights,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “If the government now deports Human Rights Watch’s researcher for asking businesses to respect rights as we do across the world, there’s no telling whom it will throw out next.”

Read the full statement here.

Washington Post: “Israel Supreme Court allows expulsion of human rights activist.”

“The ruling represents the likely culmination of the protracted effort to remove Omar Shakir, a U.S. citizen, and marks an escalation in Israel’s determination to prevent critics from operating in the country under new laws that equate support for the boycotts, divestments and sanctions movement (BDS) with challenging Israel’s right to exist.”

Read the full piece here.

October 2019

Right to Enter: New (Illegal) U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem Impotent To Serve U.S. Citizens Under Israeli Jurisdiction

“Recent email replies from the U.S. Embassy to affected US citizens reveal volumes regarding a U.S. foreign policy gone astray. While the current U.S. Administration has obliged a fanatic right-wing Israeli government with its most outrageous requests (closing the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and moving the U.S. Embassy are just two of many examples), that same Administration is completely impotent to serve the interests of its own citizens in Israeli-occupied territory. Rather, like prior U.S. Administrations, the Trump administration is not even able to get the Israeli authorities to reply to inquiries on behalf of its own citizens. The U.S. has failed to secure satisfactory resolution to multiple complaints of arbitrary and discriminatory visa procedures and treatment of its citizens at Israeli-controlled borders for well over a decade.”

Read the full statement here.

August 2019

Haaretz: “Israeli University Heads Say Won’t Intervene in Discrimination Against Palestinian Schools.”

“Committee says refusal to grant visas to guest lecturers is not in its purview. Hundreds of academics ask top officials to match guidelines at West Bank institutions to those at Israeli ones.”

Read the full piece here.

Haaretz: “Israel Willing to Let Gazans Who Want to Emigrate to Fly Out via Its Territory, Official Says.”

“Israeli authorities are willing to allow Gaza Strip residents who want to emigrate to fly out via Israel if a country is found to accept them, a senior government official said on Monday. According to the official, Israel would even pay for the flight. The official added that the government had asked a few countries, including some in the Middle East, whether they would be willing to accept Palestinians from Gaza, and was turned down.”

Read the full piece here.

National Public Radio: “Reversing Earlier Ban, Israel Permits Limited Visit For Rep. Rashida Tlaib.”

“Israel said it would allow entry to the Michigan congresswoman to visit her aging grandmother in the West Bank after announcing earlier that it would bar her from visiting.”

Listen to the full piece here.

Truthout: “Israel Systematically Blocks International Scholars From Reaching Palestine.”

“In the Occupied Palestinian Territories, however, Israel routinely blocks international scholars from reaching Palestinian universities and places severe restrictions on their movement, preventing them from fulfilling their scholarly duties and depriving Palestinian students of critical educational opportunities. These actions infringe on Palestinians’ right to education as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

Read the full piece here.

LRB Blog: “Concrete Conditions.” 

“Restrictions on what, and who, is allowed into the West Bank aren’t new. But it’s getting harder for foreign academics to teach at universities in Palestine, according to the legal rights groups Adalah and Al-Haq. Haneen Adi is a US citizen and English literature teacher at Birzeit. In November 2017, the Israeli authorities wouldn’t renew her visa. She has not left the West Bank since. She has missed her sister’s wedding and the death of a relative. Her father was denied entry when he tried to visit her.”

Read the full piece here.

Al Fanar Media: “Palestinian Universities Say Israeli Restrictions Force Foreign Professors Out.”

“The Israeli authorities increasingly are refusing to issue work permits for foreign academics who work in Palestinian universities in the occupied West Bank, education officials and human rights organizations say. Some 32 foreign and Palestinian professors and lecturers with foreign passports working at eight Palestinian universities have been subjected to Israeli restrictions on visas to enter or stay in the Palestinian territories, according to a study published last year by the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education.”

Read the full piece here.

July 2019

Times Higher Education: “Israel’s restrictions on international academics at Palestinian universities must be opposed.”

“This is more than simple harassment. These actions are intended to show the deep reach of the Israeli state into all aspects of Palestinian life. In this case, it is interference with whatever semblance of normal functioning Palestinian universities might have. It sends the message that Israel does not want international scholars in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and that if one wants to travel there to teach, Israel will make that as hard as possible….
While the denial of visas to international scholars might seem a small inconvenience by comparison, put into the context of the overall weakened conditions of Palestinian schools and universities, as well as the totality of deprivation the Palestinians suffer under, it is a terrible thing indeed. The international community, especially the international academic community, needs to wake up.”
Read the full piece here.

The Italian Society for Middle East Studies (SeSaMO), Statement of Solidarity:

“Our academic society deeply believes in scientific collaboration, and in the need to guarantee the safety of researchers as an indispensable prerequisite for any kind of scientific collaboration. SeSaMO auspicates that the Israeli authorities will ensure full freedom of movement and of work to all the international colleagues teaching in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

Inside Higher Ed: “No Passage to Palestinian Universities.”

“Not a single international faculty member, with the exception of those directly employed by foreign government-sponsored programs, was issued a visa for the length of their 2018-2019 academic year contract,” the university said in a July 20 press release. “As of press time, six full-time international faculty members contracted for the 2018-2019 academic year are without valid visas; another five — including a department chair — are overseas with no clear indications of whether they will be able to return and secure visas required for them to stay for the coming academic year. Over 12 departments and programs face losing faculty members in the coming academic year because of the Israeli policy.”

Read the full piece here.

+972 Magazine: “Jordan turns back stateless Palestinian journalist Israel tried to deport.”

“When al-Haruf was 12 years old, his Palestinian father returned from Algeria to Jerusalem with his children, although it took him years to formalize his children’s residency status in the city. By that point, Al-Haruf was over 18 years old — too old to get status along with his siblings….

In 2016, Al-Haruf married an East Jerusalem Palestinian woman with whom he had a daughter. He applied for family unification, which was rejected on security grounds….

In his decision rejecting al-Haruf’s request for an injunction, Supreme Court Justice Hendel wrote that the Interior Ministry admits that al-Haruf’s Jordanian travel document does not constitute evidence of Jordanian citizenship. Nevertheless, Hendel wrote that “the state remains consistent in its claim that the applicant has some status in Jordan and that he can be sent there.” According to his decision, the burden of proof is on al-Huruf and his attorneys to demonstrate that he lacks status in Jordan.”

Read the full piece here.

Latest RTE Situation Update – July 2019

“Reports of maladministration and haphazard issuing of visas on part of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) and Israel’s Ministry of Interior continue. Family unification remains officially frozen. There have been reports of a foreign national who received a B2 visitor’s visa, stamped “not permitted to work” on the basis of their employment with a local organization in the West Bank then being subsequently denied a visa extension due to “working” in the West Bank on that same visa. Visa processing times continue to be well over one month, with continued reports that people leaving the country in order to renew their visas are denied re-entry. Reports of other arbitrary entry denials continue, including reports of foreign nationals being refused entry on the basis that they had not secured prior “coordination” for entry into the West Bank from COGAT.”

Download the full update here.

Adalah Press Release: “Israel forcing international lecturers out of West Bank Palestinian universities.”

“Israel is refusing to issue work permits for international academics working at Palestinian universities in the occupied West Bank and is escalating a harsh visa policy that is forcing them to abandon their students and leave the country. Murky and arbitrary Israeli regulations leave international lecturers and their families in constant uncertainty and subject to deportation at any time.

Now, a Palestinian university in the West Bank, together with two Palestinian human rights groups, are taking legal action.”

Read the full piece here.

الغد: إسرائيل ترفض تجديد تأشيرات المحاضرين الأجانب بالضفة

Middle East Studies Association Letter to Israeli Ministers:

“We therefore call upon you to ensure that these professors can renew their visas, and that the academic restrictions, whose sole purpose is to make it exceedingly difficult for foreign nationals to work in academic institutions in Palestine, be abolished immediately. We join the call from Birzeit University, Al-Haq, and Adalah–the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel–for an immediate halt to this policy of targeting Palestinian academic freedom and Palestinian institutions of higher learning. We ask that Israel lift the restrictions preventing international academics from staying and working in the West Bank, refrain from imposing arbitrary restrictions on the duration of stay or extension of stay for international academics, and order the publication of a clear and lawful procedure for issuing entry visas and work permits for international academics in the West Bank, to enable the university to manage and maintain its academic freedom.”

Read the full letter here.

Haaretz: “Israel’s Academy for Indifference.”

“Whether it’s a lot or a little, what’s important is not the individual numbers but the principle. If there were a clear and convenient procedure, similar to that in Israel, we can assume that the number of music teachers and lecturers of sciences or in various interdisciplinary tracks would be even greater, whether filling the currently missing positions or developing new fields. We can also assume that other Palestinian universities – which hire fewer foreigners, or none at all – would also like to expand and enrich their faculty with guests from abroad.”

Read the full piece here.

Haaretz: “As Israel Tightens Entry Rules, Foreign Lecturers at Palestinian Universities Forced to Leave.”

“He found that their visas aren’t extended and they’re required to leave before the end of the academic year, or they’re not allowed to return for the next year. Some decide not to abandon their students in the middle of the year and are left without a valid visa. In fact they’re imprisoned in the Ramallah enclave. They don’t leave for fear that a soldier at a checkpoint will check their passport will order their deportation.”

Read the full article here.

Middle East Monitor: “Israel restricting visas for academics visiting Palestine universities.”

“One university particularly affected is Birzeit, a prominent institution located near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank. An affiliate of Birzeit, the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, “reported a 200% increase in visa denials over the past two academic years,” Adalah and Al-Haq noted.

In addition, seven international lecturers working at Birzeit were forced to leave the country because their visas were not renewed, while a further two staff members were denied entry altogether.”

Read the full article here.

University World News: “Israel blocks international academics in West Bank, Gaza.”

“Two NGOs have accused Israel of preventing international academics from working at universities in Occupied Palestinian Territory by preventing them from entering the country and refusing to renew visas for those with teaching contracts in the West Bank and Gaza.”

Read the full article here.

June 2019

Haaretz: “Europeans Seeking to Live With Palestinian Kin Must Face Long Arm of Israeli Bureaucracy.”

“Indeed, as Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon told Haaretz on Wednesday: ‘After postponements (not by the Foreign Ministry), a work meeting has been set at the Foreign Ministry next week on the issue with a number of consuls from Europe. Representatives of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories have also been invited, who will consider the issues raised there involving their areas of responsibility.'”

Read the full piece here.

May 2019

Haaretz: “What a Palestinian Woman Has to Do to Visit Her Native West Bank Village.”

“And like tens of thousands of other “mixed” families in which either the husband or wife is not a permanent resident of the West Bank, they live in legal, social and psychological limbo. Over the years, and again last year, Haaretz has reviewed the policy towards these families, whose fate is in Israel’s hands because it controls the Palestinian population registry and decides who is included and who isn’t.”

Read the full piece here.

Haaretz: “Israel Seeks to Block All East Jerusalem Family Reunification Hearings Over ‘Workload.'”

“The protracted delays have caused difficulties for hundreds of families. Hundreds of children living in East Jerusalem don’t have medical coverage because they don’t have Israeli identity cards. Some parents encounter difficulties enrolling them for school, and older children are afraid of being alone on the street for fear of being picked up by police for lack of documentation. Some families are also forced to live apart until they get their answer.”

Read the full article here.

April 2019

Haaretz Editorial: “You Married a Palestinian.” 

“The Zoughbis and those tens of thousands of other families live in the West Bank – not Israel – so the consideration of “illegal immigration” is strange and can only indicate Israel’s obsessive fear of Palestinian population growth. But a family’s right to conduct its life as it chooses, where a couple chooses, is a basic human right. The new policy must be based on full recognition of this right.”

Read the full piece here.

Haaretz: “This American-Palestinian Endangers Israeli Public Security.”

“Zoughbi and I got married in 1990. As soon as we were married, we should have been granted some legal status which would have allowed me to reside in Bethlehem as his spouse. We did everything we were told to do and applied to the Israeli Civil Administration for ‘family reunification status’ … but every single application was denied. This, compared to my American friends married to Israelis who receive legal status and rights within the first few months of being married. The government of Israel has set up both systems, but the system set up for Palestinians was set up to fail. Sure, there is an application process, but when no one is approved, what kind of process is it, really?”

Read the full piece here.

Haaretz: “Hundreds of Gazans Asked to Celebrate Easter in Jerusalem – Israel Let 200 Go to Jordan.”

Christians from the Gaza Strip used to receive a permit to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and to participate in the ceremonies, but this year only 200 Christians over the age of 55 are being allowed to leave the Strip for the holiday – and only to Jordan, via the Allenby border crossing.

Read the full piece here.

March 2019

Haaretz Opinion: “A German Affair, Not Just a Love Story in Palestine.”

“The diplomats did right to attend the hearing, since this individual case is tied to a general matter of principle: Why on earth does Israel forbid citizens of these countries to live peacefully and securely with their Palestinian spouses in Bethlehem, Ramallah or Jenin? Why does Israel discriminate against U.S., South American and European citizens, in comparison to other citizens of those same countries, only because they married Palestinians who are residents of the West Bank (and Jerusalem), and not Jews?”

Read the full piece here.

Press Release: “Israel High Court hearing in PIVOTAL CASE on FAMILY UNITY for Palestinians with foreign spouses in the oPt.”

“On 28 March 2019, the case of Josefin Herbach and Abed Salaymah v. the State of Israel will be heard in Israel’s High Court of Justice. The appellants, a West Bank ID holder and a German citizen, are petitioning for their right to live together in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The Herbach/Salaymah request for a Palestinian ID, which will enable Josefin to permanently reside in the West Bank, was denied on the grounds that being married wasn’t “sufficiently humanitarian” to warrant residency. The hearing is scheduled for 11:30 am, in Hall 3 of the Supreme Court in Jerusalem. The ruling will potentially address the right of Palestinian residents of the oPt to maintain family life with their foreign spouses in the oPt, and the ability of those foreign spouses to obtain a Palestinian ID in the oPt through family unification.”

Read the full release in Arabic here and in English here.

Haaretz: “The Secret Palestinian Doomsday Weapon.”

“Israel prevents Palestinians from living with their foreign partners, one strategy among many to expel them from their land and deny their rights because of ‘political issues'”

Read the full piece here.

Haaretz: “Israel Seeks to Deport East Jerusalem Photographer to Jordan, Where He Can’t Stay.”

“The Interior Ministry has ordered the expulsion of Palestinian press photographer Mustafa al-Kharouf, 31, who was born in Algeria but has lived in Jerusalem with his family since age 12 and is married to a woman from E. Jerusalem.”

Read the full piece here.

Haaretz: “He’s Palestinian, she’s German, but only an Israeli stamp lets them live together in the West Bank.”

“Thousands of spouses of Palestinians are denied permanent resident status and must continually obtain entry visas and visitor permits, or suffer forced separations.”

Read the full piece here.

The Real News Network: “Israeli Policies Force Family Separations.” 

“Al Haq’s director Shawan Jabarin discusses a new report exposing the complex system of restrictions Israeli authorities impose to control access to Palestinian territory and to stop family reunification. The consequences is to slowly force Palestinians out to preserve a Jewish majority in areas controlled by Israel.”

Listen to the full interview here.

Reuters: “Israeli deportation hearing focuses on Human Right Watch official’s tweets”

“The case hinges in part on Shakir’s pro-BDS tweeting before he became Human Rights Watch’s director for Israel and the Palestinian territories in 2016, and whether his statements after the appointment also constitute such support.”

Read the full piece here.

February 2019

Press Release: “Petition to Israeli HC demands amendments to flawed policy for entry of foreigners to West Bank”

“A principled petition demanding that COGAT and the Civil Administration amend their “Policy on the Entry of Foreigners into the West Bank” was submitted to Israel’s High Court of Justice on 18 February. The petition addresses numerous flaws in Israeli policy of issuing visas and how these violate both Israeli and international law. Among the amendments demanded were: clearly outlining terms for work and volunteer visas; granting foreign spouses of Palestinians the right to work; treating Jordanians wishing to enter or stay in the West Bank like citizens of other countries with diplomatic relations with Israel; granting foreign nationals multiple-entry visas; and nullifying the current restriction of work to five years and three months.”

Read the full piece here.

972 Magazine: “Israel trying to deport stateless Palestinian journalist from Jerusalem”

“Mustafa al-Haruf has spent the last 20 years living in East Jerusalem, where he has a wife, daughter, and works as a photographer. Now Israel wants to deport him to Jordan, where he has no family or legal status.”

Read the full piece here.

Latest RTE Situation Update – February 2019

“In a nutshell, no significant changes can be reported since our last update in August 2018, except for the deepening and expansion of the harm caused to the Palestinian population of the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) resulting from Israel’s continued obstruction of movement and access:

  • 1.9 million Palestinians in Gaza remain in “lock down” for well over two decades running.
  • The freezing of family unification applications since 2000 continues – affecting tens of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. 
  • Foreign nationals wishing to enter the oPt or secure visa renewals for the oPt are still without a clear, consistently-applied policy and accompanying procedures that are in accordance with Israel’s relevant international obligations.
  • Israel continues to control the population registry for the oPt and to use it in a political manner, causing serious harm to the Palestinian population.”

Download the full update here.

Al Haq: Engineering Community: Family Unification, Entry Restrictions and other Israeli Policies of Fragmenting Palestinians

This report broadly examines how Israel has defined belonging to mandate Palestine, and has sought to diminish Palestinian presence through an array of targeted, systematic policies and practices. A special focus will be given to the issue of family unification, as well as the barriers that foreigners, including those of Palestinian descent, face in entering and residing in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) due to Israeli policies. While Palestinian citizens of Israel face numerous obstacles under law in regards to family unification, and are part and parcel of Israel’s historic targeting of Palestinians, and although Palestinians in Gaza and foreign national spouses therein face extreme hardships due to Israel’s prolonged closure of the area, the scope of the report has been limited to issues faced by Palestinians and foreigners in the West Bank, including Jerusalem. However, for comparison, and to highlight the discriminatory nature of Israel’s policies, this report first examines entry, naturalization, and citizenship in Israel. Through illustrating some of the policies used in controlling the presence of foreign nationals in the OPT, the report seeks to also underscore Israel’s unjust administration as Occupying Power, which obstructs life in the OPT, creating uncertainty and instability.

Read the full report here.

Al Jazeera: “Love in times of Israeli apartheid”

“Indeed, on Valentine’s Day, there will be many partners and lovers who will suffer, being forcefully separated by racist policies and colonial borders. For Palestinians, this is just another fact of life that Israel enforces upon them.

So many Palestinians are unable to build their lives with their loved ones because they are simply banned from being in the same place.”

Read the full piece here.

The Nation: “Love in the Time of Apartheid”

“Friday morning came; I crossed the checkpoint to get into the city I was born in, Jerusalem, and proceeded to take a bus towards Nazareth to meet my future in-laws and prepare for our engagement. Some of my closest family had been denied permits, but a few of my aunts and uncles as well as my late grandfather’s wife and a handful of cousins were able to attend and loved it. They felt a connection to our new family and celebrated as if it were their own child’s engagement. My fiancée’s parents were the most loving and welcoming people I could hope for.”

Read the full piece here.

January 2019

Haaretz: “Weaponizing medical treatment to keep Palestinians divided.”

“But that’s what Israel habitually does to patients from the Gaza Strip: If they have a relative who has moved out of Gaza to live and work in Ramallah, in the West Bank, for example, Israel prohibits them from leaving Gaza for essential medical care not available in Gaza. It conditions granting them an exit permit for medical treatment on the relative in Ramallah first returning to live in the Strip.”

Read more here.

November 2018

This Week in Palestine: “Family Issues.”

“Tens of thousands of Palestinians are affected by the fact that since 2000, Israel has all but frozen the process of family unification. In theory, it is still granted in exceptional humanitarian circumstances, but in fact, such circumstances are simply not acknowledged.”

Read the full piece here.

Nature, International Journal of Science: “In the Palestinian territories, science struggles against all odds.” 

“Foreigners need a visa from Israel to enter the occupied territories, and Palestinian universities have reported a sudden increase in the number of faculty members who have had visa problems. A survey carried out by the Palestinian Ministry of Education found that in the past two academic years, more than half of the 64 foreign faculty members in Palestinian universities have had visas denied or delayed without explanation. At a press conference in July, Saidam said that the problem is ‘undermining the quality of education and research programmes at our universities’.”

Read the full article here.

Professional Staff Congress of the City University of New York (PSC-CUNY) Resolution 

“Resolved that in an act of solidarity, PSC-CUNY demand a halt to the attack on the academic freedom of Birzeit University faculty and students instigated by the Israeli government’s practice of denying access to and presence of international educators and academics contributing to Palestinian’s educational development and

Resolved that PSC-CUNY call on the AFT to convey to the Israeli government to adopt and implement a clearly documented and transparent policy enabling access to foreign nationals who are coming to educate or to promote educational development in Birzeit and other Palestinian universities and

Resolved that all entry denials and visa extension refusals issued to international academics be remedied by relevant Israeli authorities without delay.”

Read the full resolution here.

Scholars at Risk Network, Academic Freedom Monitoring Project:

“Scholars at Risk is concerned about apparently arbitrary restrictions on travel and immigration status of foreign university faculty, which inevitably harm universities by divesting them of long-term faculty and  limit the international exchange of ideas on campus. Restrictions on travel intended to restrict academic freedom, freedom of expression, or related rights may violate applicable international humanitarian law or human rights standards. These include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Israel is a party, and which protects the “freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers.” Authorities have a responsibility to protect academic freedom and not to interfere with academic activity, so long as it is undertaken peacefully and responsibly. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, travel restrictions targeting higher education institutions have a chilling effect on academic freedom and undermine democratic society generally.”

Read more here.

Haaretz: “Saved From Deportation, Jewish-American Activist Approved for Israeli Citizenship.”

“Her deportation was averted after two lawmakers from the left-wing Meretz party intervened on her behalf. After undergoing questioning at the airport for two-and-a-half hours, Weinberg-Connors was told that she would be allowed to enter the country on the condition that she not visit the West Bank without a permit from the Coordinator of Government Activity in the Territories.”

Read more here.

October 2018

Middle East Monitor: “UK urged to stand up for Palestinian education.”

“The UK government has been urged to “stand up for Palestinian students and educators”, in a letter sent yesterday by Friends of Birzeit University (Fobzu) and representatives of major education unions.

The letter, signed by the heads of the University and College Union (UCU), National Education Union (NEU), and Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), as well as the deputy general secretary of NASUWT and national secretary for education at UNISON, expresses ‘concern about the declining access to the occupied Palestinian territory and the impact this is having on Palestinian education’.”

Read the full article here.

Friends of Birzeit University and British Academic Unions: Letter to The Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP

“As a new academic year begins in Palestine, we therefore request that the government respond to the demands of Palestinian students and teachers and:

1. Support international efforts to hold Israel accountable for its violations and ensure its adherence to international law;

2. Stand up for Palestinian higher education and demand an end to Israel’s arbitrary and harmful practice of restricting and denying access of Palestinian universities to international staff contributing to Palestinian educational life;

3. Defend Palestinians’ right to education by taking action to ensure Israel fulfils its international obligations and adopts an entry and residence policy for foreign nationals in the oPt that is clear, documented and transparent.”

Read the full letter here.

British Society for Middle Eastern Studies: “Letter from BRISMES protesting against Israeli violations of Palestinian academic freedom.”

“These measures appear to have been implemented in an arbitrary and opaque manner. They have forced professors and staff to quit their jobs and even to leave the country. They stifle hiring and employment processes. They restrict research and teaching. They disrupt administration. They imply stress and humiliation for the Palestinian academic community in general. These measures clearly violate Palestinian and foreign nationals’ academic freedom and further degrade Palestinian teaching and research.”

Read the full letter here.

Haaretz: “Israel Seeks to Deport to Brazil Man Who Has Lived Almost Entire Life in West Bank.”

“The case highlights problem of tens of thousands of Palestinians under constant threat of deportation, due to Israel’s freeze of family reunification requests.”

Read the full piece here.

Letter to the Editor, The Guardian: “Israel must lift its bar on US student Lara Alqasem.”

Denying entry to foreign students based on political beliefs or ethnic heritage is an attack on academic freedom. As professors who are committed to academic freedom, and as humans who reject all forms of racial profiling, we are calling on the Israeli authorities to permit Lara Alqasem to enter Israel and pursue her studies.

Read the full piece here.

Press Release, PLO Department of Culture and Information: “Dr. Ashrawi meets with diplomatic representatives.”

“In that context, Dr. Ashrawi stressed, ‘Current conditions are unlawful and unsustainable. Families are torn apart, institutional sustainability is undermined, and healthy social and economic development is blocked.  We call on the international community to bring Israel to comply with international law and international humanitarian law and ensure its immediate articulation and implementation of clear and consistent procedures for administering entry into and removing restrictions on movement and longer-term stay in occupied Palestine.'”

Read the full piece here.

September 2018

Times Higher Education: “Israeli restrictions on overseas academics are holding Palestinian universities back.”

“Palestinian students have few options to study abroad, so if they are to acquire a quality education with an international outlook it is vital that local universities be able to tap into international expertise. Yet residency cards have been denied even to some Palestinian-born faculty who have sought to pass on to local students the invaluable knowledge and skills they derived from an education in the US or Europe.”

Read the full piece here.

Academe Blog: “Foreign Scholars Prevented from Teaching at West Bank Universities.”

“Whatever one’s position on the Israel/Palestine conflict, this seems to me a clear case of the exercise of arbitrary and discriminatory power, the violation of the academic freedom of universities (to chose their own faculties) and of faculty members (to teach in positions for which they have been hired).”

Read the full piece here.

August 2018

Latest RTE Situation Update – August 2018

Download the full update here.

972 Magazine: “Israel is making it impossible for foreign nationals to live in the West Bank.”

“Approximately tens of thousands of foreign nationals and their family members who are residents of the West Bank are harmed by this policy. However, the issue rarely receives news coverage, both in Israel and the West…What is especially frustrating is the fact that the countries whose citizens are impacted by this policy completely ignore it.”

Read the full piece here.

Call to Academics: Endorse Birzeit University’s statement by contacting Ghassan Khatib:

Click here for other recommended actions.

The Palestinian Ministry of Civil Affairs will now provide receipts for tanseeq applications (for those applying for work-related visas, and to lem shemil (family unification) applicants, including dates of application and transfer of file to Israel.

Call to United States Citizens to submit their case to the United States Consulate in Jerusalem. Learn more here

Middle East Studies Association Letter to Israeli Ministers:

“We therefore call upon you to ensure that these professors can renew their visas, and that the academic restrictions, whose sole purpose is to make it exceedingly difficult for foreign nationals to work in academic institutions in Palestine, be abolished immediately. More specifically, we ask that Israel abolish these random denials of entry to foreign nationals traveling to the West Bank and Gaza, adopt a transparent policy, and provide assurances that academics who have been unjustly denied entry will be allowed to re-enter the West Bank and Gaza. We also ask that the Israeli authorities cancel the policy that restricts foreign academics to the West Bank, and respect their right to freedom of movement.”

Read full letter here.

July 2018

Haaretz Opinion: “Destroying Palestinian Universities”

“As Israeli students are finishing their final exams, Palestinian students in the occupied territories don’t know whether their institutions will be opening for the coming academic year or if their lecturers will continue to teach, as dozens of lecturers with European and American citizenship are being expelled.”

Read full piece here.

RTE Press Release: “Palestinian University professors threatened with expulsion from West Bank”

“On 8th June 2018, seven international faculty members at Birzeit University (BZU) — one-third of the international staff at the university — were refused visa extensions by the Israeli authorities. This development portends a dramatically negative impact on education at BZU, and ultimately for many other Palestinian universities, as it will further extend the isolation of Palestinian universities from the global academic community, reducing their capacity to maintain internationally recognized standards of higher education.”

Read full release here.

Birzeit University Press Release: “Birzeit University condemns breach of academic freedom after academics forced to leave Palestine”

“If this policy continues, Palestinian universities, including Birzeit University, will be further isolated from the global academic environment. Our ability to deliver a world-class education will be further compromised if we lose the international perspectives, diverse professional experiences and high-level skills these faculty members crucially bring to Palestinian academic life and the campus environment as a whole.”

Read full release here.