al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City

Open Letter from Birzeit University in Palestine to International Academic Institutions

15 Oct 2023

Do Not be Silent about Genocide

We at Birzeit University call upon international academic institutions to take concrete action to stop the genocidal war on the Palestinian people and to end Israeli settler colonialism.

Over the past 8 days, Israel’s brutal and vicious bombardment of the Gaza Strip—which has been besieged by Israel for the past 17 years—has resulted in the killing of over 2,400 Palestinians, one third of whom are children, the injuring of over 10,000 Palestinians, the deliberate displacement of more than half a million Palestinians and the call for the removal of another million from the north of the Gaza Strip, the destruction of 60,000 residential units, in addition to targeted attacks on hospitals, schools and universities.

Recent statements by Israeli government officials calling Palestinians “human animals” that are to be starved and further made hostage through a complete blockade of food, water, electricity, and fuel amplifies Israel’s founding racist ideology that operates with pervasive international impunity and complicity. This war of elimination begun in 1948 continues to escalate, devoid of humane rules or ethical constraints, exacerbating an already insufferable living situation for Palestinians.

Birzeit University calls upon the international academic community, unions, and students to fulfill their intellectual and academic duty of seeking truth, maintaining a critical distance from state-sponsored propaganda, and to hold the perpetrators of genocide and those complicit with them accountable.

We also hold Israeli universities responsible as they have been indispensable to the regime of settler colonial oppression and apartheid, complicit in grave violations of human rights including developing weaponry, military doctrines, and legal justification for the indiscriminate, mass targeting of Palestinians. These academic institutions must be shunned by the international academic community.

Birzeit University urges the international community to immediately intervene to stop this barbaric aggression and to protect Palestinians from the dramatic escalation of Israeli war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing throughout all of Palestine.

The ongoing impunity granted by the international community to the Israeli occupying forces must end today.