PACBI Statement

Israel bombs Islamic University and Schools in Gaza: BDS Now!

August 6, 2014

-- A new racist Israeli chant [1] mocking the more than four hundred Palestinian children murdered by Israel during its current massacre in Gaza [2]

“Tomorrow there’s no school in Gaza, they don’t have any children left.”


Occupied Palestine – 5 August 2014: The Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) strongly condemn the Israeli bombing of the Islamic University of Gaza,[3] its partial or full destruction of scores of schools, including some run by the UN and designated as humanitarian shelters, and its murder of more than four hundred children, mostly school-aged, among other Palestinian civilians during its ongoing massacre in Gaza.[4]

To date, Israel’s ongoing war of aggression on Gaza has killed at least 1,938 Palestinians, including 460 children, and injured thousands.[5] This assault, described as a “war on children” by Save the Children,[6] has also displaced more than 450,000 people,[7] leaving everyone, including those who are displaced with no safe place to go.[8]


As is always the case with Israeli wars of aggression, students, academics and educational institutions are granted no special consideration and in many cases are deliberately targeted.[9] According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territory (OCHA), 141 schools have been damaged by shelling in the last 27 days of Israel’s massacre in Gaza, including 90 UN schools.[10]Four kindergartens have also been significantly damaged or destroyed.[11] Seven of the UN schools that were bombed by Israel are designated as emergency shelters, hosting thousands of displaced persons.[12] Despite being given the exact coordinates and locations of the school 17 times, Israel attacked the UN school in Jabalia, killing at least 15 civilians, including four children.[13] UNRWA spokesperson, Chris Gunness, stated that the situation in Gaza has “moved beyond the realm of humanitarian action alone” into ”the realm of political accountability and political action.” [14]
Palestinian universities have also not been spared in Israel’s ongoing onslaught. Israel bombed the Islamic University in Gaza on August 2nd, causing extensive damage to one of Gaza‘s largest (70,000 students) and most prominent institutions of higher education.[15] On July 29th, Israel attacked a branch of Al Quds Open University, killing 22 people. Vice President of Al Quds Open University said that this repeated attack will lead the university to cancel its summer courses, preventing 10,000 students from continuing their studies. [16]
Palestinian students, teachers and academics have also been among those targeted in Israel’s deadly assault on Gaza. At least 18 Palestinian students who have successfully completed their qualifying high school exams (tawjihi) in preparation for college were killed, before they had a chance to see their results.[17] Dr. Basir Al-Hajjar, lecturer at the Islamic University of Gaza, who recently completed his PhD at Manchester University in the UK, was also killed in an Israeli strike.[18] Teachers and staff at UN schools are no exception. Since July 20th, a school principal, five teachers, and a school attendant have been among the UN staff killed by Israeli strikes in Gaza .[19] 
This most recent Israeli military attack on universities, schools and academia is far from being an exception.  It is only the latest episode in what Oxford University academic Karma Nabulsi has termed “scholasticide.”[20] The Islamic University of Gaza was also extensively damaged by Israeli bombing in 2008-09, when 74 science labs were obliterated.[21] During Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, 14 out of 15 of Gaza’s higher education institutions were damaged, with six directly targeted, according to Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, with three colleges and six university buildings completely destroyed.
[22] These continued bloody attacks on Palestinian education serve to prove Israel’s systematic violation not only of academic freedom, but a premeditated and intentional violation of the basic right to education.
The response of Israeli universities to these violations remains unchanged. There is ample evidence of their intimate relations with the Israeli regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid, by active choice.[23]Virtually all Israeli academic institutions have by now issued official statements declaring support for the Israeli massacre in Gaza and vehemently suppressing any dissent by faculty or students.[24]  Moreover, they have promised faculty and student reserve soldiers actively involved in the killing fields of Gaza various perks and privileges as rewards for their contribution to the state’s ‘security.’[25]Israel’s academy is a key planner, supporter and defender of Israel’s attacks on Gaza.Israel’s academic institutions have gone beyond thecomplicity of silence;they are party to the systematic Israeli violation of Palestinians’ right to life, to equality, to freedom, not just the rights to education and academic freedom.
PFUUPE and PACBI strongly believe that Israel‘s targeting of civilian homes, schools, hospitals, ambulances, mosques, social and economic institutions, government buildings, law and order organs, UN humanitarian facilities and shelters, as well as higher education institutions should not go unpunished. Israel’s sense of unassailable impunity is a guaranteed recipe for the repetition of its crimes and nourishment of its genocidal tendencies. [26]
In the face of these persistent violations, academic boycott becomes a necessity, even a moral imperative. In response to these Israeli atrocities and grave violations of international law and the most basic human rights, PFUUPE and PACBI call on academics, academic unions, intellectuals, cultural workers and institutions the world over to intensify the boycott of all Israeli academic and cultural institutions due to their complicity in the Israeli occupation and other forms of oppression against the Palestinian people. Putting an end to Israel’s culture of impunity and holding it accountable is the moral responsibility of every conscientious human being today, academics and artists included.
- Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE)
- Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)


[4] French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, Brazilian president DilmaRousseff, among world leaders who have characterized Israel’s crimes in Gaza as constituting a “massacre,” while some world leaders, including Bolivian president Evo Morales, and Turkish premier RecepTayyip Erdogan, described them as acts of “genocide.”
August 6, 2014


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