PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi on the Knesset’s extension of Israeli law to academic institutions in the illegal settlements
“We condemn the Israeli Knesset’s vote to extend Israeli law to academic institutions in the illegal settlements and place them under the authority of the Council for Higher Education in Israel. This decision represents another dangerous step in the annexation of the occupied West Bank. These academic institutions include Ariel University which is located in the Salfit Governorate (settlement of Ariel), Orot College which is located in the Salfit Governorate (settlement of Elkana), and Herzog College which is located near Bethlehem and Jerusalem (settlement of Alon Shvut).
Such legislation is part of the Israeli government’s plans to impose its sovereignty on all of the occupied West Bank, systematically wiping out the Palestinian presence and continuity on Palestinian soil and destroying the two-state solution.
All settlements are illegal and constitute a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and a direct violation of international law and conventions, including UNSC resolution 2334. Israel is thereby demonstrating its intent to prolong and consolidate its military occupation by working to “legalize” the presence of extremist Jewish settlers, institutions and settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.
The U.S. administration’s unilateral steps on Jerusalem and refugees, as well as its unquestioning support of Israel’s lawlessness and impunity have only emboldened Israel to persist in such unlawful policies of creeping annexation with the aim of superimposing “Greater Israel” on all of historic Palestine.
We call on global and regional partners who claim to support international law, international humanitarian law and the two-state solution to step in urgently and curb this latest Israeli outrage and to hold Israel to account by employing punitive measures and sanctions.
In particular, we urge the European Union to implement its own legislation which clearly states that it will not provide funding to Israeli organizations or institutions situated in the occupied West Bank. Instead of maintaining a relationship of exceptionalism and preferential treatment with Israel, it is time to send Israel a clear message that the EU will not tolerate such behavior that not only violates international law but also subverts any global effort at bring about the two-state solution and peace.”