Argentinian Physical Society urges the Israeli government to abide to Academic freedom

Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister of Israel

Prime Minister’s Office

3 Kaplan St. Hakirya

Jerusalem 91950, Israel

Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu:

We are writing to urge you to order the immediate release of Dr. Imad Barghouthi from Israeli military custody. Professor Imad Barghouthi of al-Quds University is an astro-physicist and founder of the Arab Union of astronomy and science. He obtained his doctorate at the University of Utah and worked at the US space agency before returning to Jerusalem.

As described in the journal Nature [[Scientists protest detention of Palestinian physicist, Michele Catanzaro, (Nature, International weekly journal of science, Nature News, 21 January 2015, Updated: 23 January 2015, Corrected: 22 January 2015)]], Barghouti was arrested on 6 December 2014 by Israeli authorities at the Karama border as he was on his way to the United Arab Emirates to attend the 11th Arab Astronomy Congress. He was informed that he would be detained administratively for three months. When Professor Barghouthi came to court for a hearing appealing his detention the Judge ordered his immediate release.

On 24 April 2016, he was again detained by Israeli soldiers at the military checkpoint at Nabi Saleh in the West Bank, northwest of Ramallah. But neither the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) nor Israel Police accepted to comment on the matter, remaining unclear which branch of the Israeli security forces was responsible for his arrest. Recently on 3 May 2016, “An Israeli court … issued an administrative detention order against Palestinian astrophysicist Imad Barghouthi”. Professor Barghouthi was initially held without charge and scheduled to be released on 29 May 2016. Instead, the Israeli occupation prosecution charged against him for “incitement” [[Politics: Israel must release Palestinian physicist, Nature, 13 July 2016; Academic appeals to Israeli court against Facebook-posting indictment (The Palestinian Information Center).]] and Professor Barghouthi is now in a prolonged, indefinitely renewable imprisonment and it is a serious violation of human rights.

Israel has destroyed or damaged hundreds of Palestinian schools and kindergartens; it arrests students because posts on Facebook expressing their opposition to military occupation; the University of Gaza has been bombed multiple times and the Birzeit University in the West Bank has been closed down at least 15 times by the Israeli military. Article 26 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Israel is a signatory, grants all people the right to education. The detention of Prof. Barghouthi is a serious violation of his human rights and also it is part of a broader pattern of disruption and suppression of Palestinian educational systems. We urge you hence to respect those principles and to order the immediate release of Professor Imad Barghouthi.


Antonio J. Ramirez Pastor, President Argentinian Physical Society