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West Bank college puts Israeli policies to the test | THE JEENYUS CORNER


Ariel University Center- West Bank.

Maayan Lubell

An Israeli government move to upgrade Ariel University Centre in the occupied West Bank to a full-fledged university has put the 30-year-old school at the centre of a debate at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: how the settlements will figure in defining a future Palestinian state.

The cabinet decision on September 9, equating it with universities inside Israel, is another signal from the Israeli government that it intends to retain control of the area around Ariel settlement in any future peace pact with the Palestinians.

The decision has come under attack from several directions, including the Palestinians and international opponents of the West Bank settlements.

The move would “further entrench the presence of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and create an additional barrier to peace with the Palestinians”, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

More than 1,000 Israeli scholars wrote in an open letter posted on the Internet in February that it was their “duty to stop the attempt to recruit Israeli academia into the service of the occupation” and called on the education minister to halt the upgrade.

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