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Arab MK demands Israel lift restrictions on West Bank university students

July 30, 2008 12:19 A.M. (Updated: July 30, 2008 12:19 A.M.)
Jerusalem - Ma'an - In a speech delivered to the Israeli Knesset (parliament) on Tuesday, deputy Muhammad Baraka said that the arbitrary actions taken by Israeli authorities against West Bank Palestinians studying at Israeli universities are unreasonable and unacceptable in a democratic state. Baraka is Knesset member (MK) representing the Democratic Front.

This came after the discovery of a letter sent by the heads of Israeli universities to Defense Minister Ehud Barak demanding that the Israeli security authorities stop intervening in the affairs of Israeli academic institutions, specifically in relation to admission decisions for students from the West Bank.

Israeli authorities impose significant restrictions on Palestinian students from the West Bank wishing to study at Israeli universities. Only 70 students from the West Bank are permitted to study at Israeli universities at any one time by the Israeli security services, and even these students are sometimes prevented from studying their preferred subjects. In addition, for each student accepted from the West Bank, the university must justify his or her admission to the security authorities.

Baraka called on Ehud Barak to order the Israeli security services to halt such actions immediately, since they discriminate against and oppress Palestinian students. He noted that these measures come on top of all the other restrictions Israel imposes on Palestinians, denying them freedom of movement, opportunities for work and education in the West Bank, and access to their lands.

Finally, Baraka praised the heads of Israeli universities for taking a position against these discriminatory practices.

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