The Truth about The Ariel University

We have collected here a list of facts that should be known about this institute:

    • Ariel University is located in an Israeli settlement built in the occupied Palestinian territories (occupied by Israel since 1967). It is built on land confiscated from the local Palestinian residents [1], using military directives.
    • Israel applies a military rule over the local Palestinian inhabitants, including military court, for 47 years.
    • These occupied territories have never been annexed to Israel, as recently reiterated by the Israeli Supreme Court decision regarding Ariel University [2]. Ariel is NOT inside the state of Israel.  The United Nations designation of this territory is Occupied Palestinian territories (OPT or oPt).
    • Thereby, Ariel University is not under the jurisdiction of the Council of Higher Education of Israel, and its university status was formally awarded to it by the army general in charge of the area.
    • The Israeli settlements in general, and Ariel University in particular, are deemed by most accepted interpretations to be in violation of international treaties such as the Geneva convention, which forbids the transfer of population from the conquering state into the occupied territory, and are therefore widely considered to be illegal.
    • The settlement of Ariel, and Ariel University, were built to advance the political agenda of the right-wing parties in Israel who wish to make the Israeli occupation permanent [3], thereby removing the possibility of the Palestinians having an independent state, free of Israeli occupation. Therefore, the academic staff in Ariel has to agree with this political agenda to a large extent, which makes it an academic institution with a clear political bias, unlike any other in Israel or in any other democratic country.

  • The supervising body in charge academically with Ariel University, Council of Higher Education Yehuda-Shomron, is naturally composed of people associated with the political agenda of the settlements, thereby emphasizing the politicizing of academia. The members of this body are appointed by the army general in charge of the area.
  • In light of these facts, major granting agencies that support research in Israel, such as the European Research Council (ERC) and the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF), do not allow any of their grants to support research performed in the occupied territories in general, and at Ariel University in particular.
  • The local Palestinian residents living around Ariel are not allowed to enter the settlement, let alone the university. This is in contrast with the situation inside Israel, where academic institutions are equally open to all, as in all democratic societies.
  • The main road linking Ariel to Israel proper is practically closed to Palestinian traffic [1], and building it entailed confiscating huge tracts of lands from the local Palestinian population.
  • Through this road 85% of the students who attend Ariel University arrive from Israel. The geographic location of the university was not chosen to best serve the needs of the Israeli students, but to promote the settlements.
  • Among the basic rights that the Palestinians are deprived of by the Israeli military rule is the right for free travel within their land. These restrictions severely limit the accessibility of Palestinian students and faculty to their institutes of higher education.
  • Israel put severe restrictions on the Palestinian universities, by denying freedom of travel and access to students, faculty and foreign visitors.

 

1 About Ariel’s Crimes – Idan Landau’s Blog (Hebrew)
  LAND GRAB – Israel’s Settlement Policy in the West Bank -B’TSELEM
  Ariel settlement fact sheet

 

2 Barak orders IDF general to approve Ariel academic institute as a university – The Times of Israel
  It’s Final: IDF Central Command Approves Ariel University – Arutz 7
  Hebrew University v. Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria – H.C.6168/12 (Hebrew)

 

3 Ariel University here to stay, education minister says at inaugural event – The Times of Israel
  Education Minister calls extraordinary meeting of higher education panel to approve Ariel University – Haaretz
  Member of Israel’s higher education council resigns over West Bank university recognition Haaretz