Recent Updates


January 2019

Latest RTE Situation Update – January 2019

“Israel’s arbitrary and abusive exercise of discretion over entry into and stay within the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) continues to cause serious, unjustified harm to Palestinian families; educational, religious and social service institutions; and businesses and investments in the oPt. The Right to Enter Campaign notes with alarm recent developments related to access to and movement within the oPt and the resulting escalation in negative repercussions for families, essential services, and the productive sectors of Palestinian society.”

Download the full update here.

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: gkhatib@birzeit.edu

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.