Academics express their disquiet at a science conference being held in a settlement in the occupied West Bank
We are writing to express our view that Ariel University in the occupied West Bank is the wrong venue for a conference on cosmology and particle physics starting on Monday3 September and running until 6 September. The settlements are illegal under international law and have been denounced by the international court of justice and numerous UN resolutions. Human Rights Watch has noted that Ariel’s “development is inseparable from a history of continuous dispossession of Palestinians from their land and restrictions on their freedom of movement”.
There is strong opposition to Ariel University. Due to its location in a settlement, it is excluded from receiving funds from the EU, US-Israel Binational Science Foundation, and the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development. In 2012, more than 1,200 Israeli faculty members signed a petition opposing the establishment of Ariel, describing it as an attempt to recruit the Israeli academia into the service of the occupation and settlement efforts. Palestinian civil society and academia are comprehensively against the occupation and the settlements.