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PA appointed Al-Aqsa University president replaced by de facto gov.

Oct. 7, 2009 6:39 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 8, 2009 10:56 A.M.)
Gaza – Ma’an – The de facto Ministry of Education and Higher Education fired the president of Al-Aqsa University, Ali Zeidan Abu Zahry, in Gaza on Wednesday, for ongoing poor management practices, officials said.

The education ministry under the caretaker government of Salam Fayyad called the move one meant to “steal” the university, calling it “irresponsible and illegal,” and saying they would hold the de facto government responsible of the damage done to the education in Gaza.

The university will be run by a three-person presidential council, according to the de facto government, and “life on campus will get back to normal,” a news release said.

A statement from Ramallah on the move alleged that “Hamas stormed the University in a barbaric way and took over it by force. Hamas also expelled the University’s president Dr Ali Abu Zahri and detained a number of student leaders.” The accusations have not been confirmed or denied.

The de facto Ministry justified the decision, saying it came “to preserve the public interest and the interest of the Al-Aqsa University students and in response to calls from parents, teachers and the university professors union in Gaza and the West Bank to bring life to the University which has been paralyzed by incorrect and accumulated management practices that threatened the future of the students and the educational process.”

The initial decision to appoint Abu Zahry to the position of president of the university was issued by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The move has already sparked political tensions in Gaza, with the Fatah Youth Organization accusing Hamas and its youth movement of being responsible for “the destruction of education in Al-Aqsa University in Gaza,” echoing the official line from Ramallah.

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