Author Archives: David McDowall

How Israel frustrates Palestine’s education

In the current issue of Times Higher Education (13 September), you’ll find a piece by Palestine’s Raja Shehadeh, about the way Israel discourages foreign faculty from teaching in Palestine.  Precisely half of the 64 foreign academics working in Palestine, have been adversely affected by denial or restriction in their permission to work, over the past two academic years. 

Once a university has invited a foreign academic to join its faculty, Israel uses an opaque two-tier system of control, through the Civil Administration in the occupied territory and, if an application clears that hurdle, the power of veto by Israel’s Interior Ministry.  The process is uncertain, Kafkaesque and has every appearance of being discriminatory, to impair the fundamental purpose of education, the dissemination of knowledge and the deepening of understanding. Unable to plan their future, such applicants give up, seeking employment elsewhere. Some Palestinian-born faculty educated in the US or Europe have also been denied residency. 

Israel’s handling of these applications seems tainted with illegality. In his ground-breaking book, Occupier’s Law, published in 1985, Shehadeh showed how the Civil Administration in the West Bank, which issues (or withholds) work permits, was created as part and parcel of ‘solutions for the legal problems encountered in achieving the goal of annexing the West Bank without its inhabitants,’ itself a profoundly illegal process. 

The second tier of Israeli control, however, lies within Israel’s Ministry of the Interior, which issues (or withholds) entry visas for residence in the Occupied Territory. Even where visas are issued, visa extensions may be denied on the grounds that foreigners may not reside in Israel for more than five years. But they are, of course, residing in the Palestinian territory, not in Israel. Under the Laws of Occupation, it may be debatable whether this illegally transfers powers that should remain within occupied territory. Yet it clearly transgresses operative clause 5 of the recent UN Security Council Resolution 2334 (December 2016), which requires all Member States, and that of course includes Israel itself, ‘to distinguish in all their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.’  

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 2 Comments
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  • User Avatarexpats 20th Jan - 1:50pm
    To me Harold Wilson is the man who, despite right wing pressure at home, kept the young men of the UK out of Vietnam. As...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 20th Jan - 1:45pm
    Innocent Bystander, there may be some truth in your assessment of academic economists, but most big investment banks and multi-nationals will have an economics department...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 20th Jan - 1:18pm
    Jimmy Carter presidency was seen as something of a failure. However, much of his best achievements were as an International Statesman, after he was free...
  • User AvatarInnocent Bystander 20th Jan - 1:11pm
    But David, economists only exist to argue unprovable theories with other economists while the rest of us try and make the world function.
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 20th Jan - 12:48pm
    David Raw, I wouldn't put Harold Wilson in the category of Lenin, but his development years during the war were spent as a research assistant...
  • User AvatarInnocent Bystander 20th Jan - 12:44pm
    Obviously a real focal point of love and devotion. To have inspired such admiration and affection over their lifetime, is worthy of praise indeed. I...