The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott learned today from its Steering Committee member Dr. Haidar Eid that the headquarters of the University Teachers Association-Palestine, in Gaza, was bombed by the Israeli occupation forces during their indiscriminate, willful destruction campaign in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City on Friday.
This latest wanton attack on an academic organization is far from being an exception. It is only the latest episode in what Oxford University academic Karma Nabulsi has termed “scholasticide,” or Israel’s systematic and intentional destruction of Palestinian education centers. In its current war on Gaza alone, Israel has bombed the ministry of education, the Islamic University of Gaza, and tens of schools, including at least four UNRWA [the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees] schools, after having largely destroyed the infrastructure of teaching throughout the year and a half of its illegal and criminal siege of the densely populated Gaza Strip.
The UTA headquarters is a detached two-story building that is clearly marked with the Association’s name. The bombed structure, which now stands without a roof, has sustained heavy structural damage and may be in danger of collapsing any time.
It is worth noting that the UTA, together with other Gaza-based civil society organizations, called on 15 January for a wide campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel in response to its well-documented, premeditated war crimes in Gaza. The Israeli bombing of UTA’s headquarters occurred on the exact following day, 16 January.
In line with the statements issued by the Palestinian BDS National Committee and the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees PACBI condemns in the strongest possible terms Israel’s long record of war crimes and acts of genocide in Gaza, during the siege as well as in this war of aggression. Israel’s wanton assaults have caused thousands of fatalities and injuries and threatened tens of thousands more, particularly children, with chronic diseases, stunted growth, severe malnutrition and heightened risk of mortality.
PACBI strongly believes that Israel’s targeting of civilian homes, schools, hospitals, ambulances, mosques, social and economic institutions, government buildings, law and order organs, UN humanitarian facilities and shelters, as well as higher education institutions should not go unpunished. Israel’s sense of unassailable impunity is a guaranteed recipe for repetition of its crimes and nourishing its genocidal tendencies, as noted by UN Rapporteur for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, Prof. Richard Falk.
Specifically, and as a minimal response to these Israeli atrocities and grave violations of international law and the most basic human rights, PACBI calls on academics, academic unions, intellectuals, cultural workers and institutions the world over to intensify the boycott of all Israeli academic and cultural institutions due to their complicity in the Israeli occupation and other forms of oppression against the Palestinian people. Putting an end to Israel’s impunity and holding it accountable is the moral responsibility of every conscientious human being today.