In the News

Spain excludes settlement university from academic competition

September 19, 2009

Jerusalem/Barcelona sept,20th. - The "University Center of Ariel in Samaria" (AUCS) has beenexcluded from a prestigious university competition about sustainable architecturein Spain. With this move, Spain joins the growing number of Europeangovernments taking effective, even though preliminary, steps to upholdinternational law by boycotting or divesting from institutions and corporationsinvolved in or profiting from Israel's illegal Wall and colonial settlementsbuilt on occupied Palestinian land..


"Ariel UniversityCentre of Samaria" was one out of 21 teams selected last April to competefor the Solar Decathlon-Madrid 2010, the most prestigious competition forsustainable architecture in the world, organized by the Spanish Ministry ofHousing together with the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid .[1]


Selected teams, formedby architects and engineering students are asked to design and build a realhouse entirely driven by solar energy. Every house should be built in one ofthe 20 sites in the "Solar Villa" planned in Madrid to host them. Tofacilitate participation of the various teams, the Spanish Ministry of Housingallocated a sum of 100,000 Euros to every project.


Last Wednesday,September 16th, Sergio Vega, General Director of Solar Decathlon Europeaddressed all participant teams to inform them of the exclusion of AUCS:"The decision has been taken by the Government of Spain based upon the factthat the University is located in the [occupied] West Bank. The Government of Spainis obliged to respect the international agreements under the framework of theEuropean Union and the United Nations regarding this geographical area." Itrepresents the first case of sanctions against an Israeli academic institutionin Spain and one of the very first such actions in the West.


The PalestinianBoycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) in Palestine has takenup the campaign against official Spanish support of the illegal Israeliuniversity in occupied Palestinian territory following an initiative of the UKbased professional association, Architects and Planners for Justice inPalestine (APJP). The support of many individuals and organizations in Spain forthe cancellation of AUCS’s participation in the Solar Decathlon had culminatedin a parliamentary question in the Spanish Parliament [2] and the eventualexclusion of the illegal settlement academic institution from the competition.


This move of the governmentof Spain follows the decisionof the UK government not to rent offices from Israeli settlement builderLev Leviev and the divestmentof the Norwegian Pension Fund from Elbit Systems, an Israeli companyproviding surveillance equipment to the Wall.  


The BNC congratulatesthe Spanish university teachers, parliamentarians and organizations for thisprincipled stand with the Palestinian people and international law and callsfor sustained support of the Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions(BDS) against Israel and all its complicit institutions, includinguniversities, until it fully complies with its obligations under internationallaw and respects universal human rights, specifically by ending the occupation, facilitating the UN-sanctioned rightof Palestinian refugees to return to their homes of origin and ensuring equalrights for all Palestinian citizens of Israel.




For moreinformation please see the Palestinian BDS call:


September 19, 2009


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