Petition signed demanding Israel to allow Gazan students to attend their universities abroad


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Israeli rights group Gisha-Maslak said last week that around 450 Israeli university professors signed a petition in which they demanded the Israeli authorities allow Palestinian students in Gaza to attend their universities abroad.

The signed petition also called for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) to take immediate action to allow students from Gaza to exit the Strip in order to reach their academic institutions abroad.

The petition was initiated and drafted by members of Gisha’s board, against the backdrop of Israel’s ongoing prohibition on almost all travel via the Erez Crossing, said the Gisha-Maslak.

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“According to information received from the human rights organization Gisha, it has come to our attention that since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, Israel has blocked Palestinian students from Gaza from exiting the Strip via Erez Crossing to reach academic studies abroad,” said the Israeli university professors in the petition.  

“As faculty members at academic institutions around the world, we strongly oppose this infringement on students’ fundamental rights,” the added. “We call on the Government of Israel to take immediate action to allow students to exit Gaza via Erez Crossing.”

Moreover, the petition stated that access to education is a fundamental human right. Access to higher education, in all academic fields, is a prerequisite for young people to develop personal and professional skills, expand their horizons, and realize their personal ambitions.

“Access to academic studies is crucial for any society. In Gaza, where opportunities for studying specific subjects and degrees are limited, in part due to Israeli movement restrictions, students’ access to academic training outside the Strip is absolutely vital so that they can learn and receive training in the field of their choice.”

Also, it added that “Since March 2020, Israeli authorities have agreed to process permit applications in even fewer, rarer circumstances than before, only allowing a small number of patients in need of urgent medical treatment and their companions, and a handful of others, to exit the Strip.”

“Among the people impacted by this continued lockdown at Erez are students, including post-graduate students with lucrative scholarships, enrolled at academic institutions abroad requiring in-person attendance.”

It continued: “Before the closure was tightened further in March 2020, students in this situation met Israel’s narrow criteria for travel, one of few exceptions to the sweeping restrictions on the movement it enforced well before the pandemic,” adding that the “Rafah Crossing is completely closed.”Source : Safa


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