Madam Geneviève Fioraso
President of the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Institute of Technological Research
CS 34 436
B 612 Building – 3 rue Tarfaya
31405 Toulouse codex 4
Paris, 12 April 2019,
The Association of Academics for the Respect of International Law in Palestine (AURDIP) has been informed that the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Institute of Technological Research (IRT) maintains activities with the University of Ariel, a university located in an Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Documents available on the websites of the IRT Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and the University of Ariel (presented as located in Israel) attest to the institutional collaboration between these two institutions. A brochure from the IRT Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, which lists the various foreign universities collaborating with it, also mentions the University of Ariel as a partner and indicates that it is located in Israel.
The collaboration between the two institutions has led to conferences, summer school, research and publications, notably with Professor Joseph Bernstein of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Ariel.
AURDIP would like to inform you that Ariel University is not located in Israel or on Israeli territory, but in the occupied Palestinian territories. The University of Ariel is located in an Israeli settlement within these territories.
We take this opportunity to remind you that Israeli settlement is a violation of international law (and a war crime) and that all Israeli settlements within the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal.
In its opinion of 9 July 2004, the International Court of Justice stated that, because of this illegality under international law, it is the responsibility of each member State of the international community not to recognize Israeli settlements, not to provide any aid and assistance to the settlements and to put pressure on the State of Israel to stop settlement.
This is why the European Union adopted on 19 July 2013 the “Guidelines on the eligibility of Israeli entities established in the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967 and their activities in those territories for subsidies, prizes and financial instruments financed by the EU from 2014” (2013/C 205/05; OJEU of 19.7.2013 C 205/9 to C 205/11). These guidelines prohibit EU-funded grants, prizes and financial instruments to any Israeli entity established in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since June 1967, including East Jerusalem, but also to any Israeli activity that takes place there.
The support, direct or indirect, by a French public institution such as the IRT Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, for research or teaching activities in the Israeli settlement of Ariel, constitutes an encouragement to Israel’s settlement policy and is therefore contrary to international law.
We would like you to be able to ensure that this issue of collaboration with the University of Ariel, which poses a legal and reputational risk to both the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry IRT and its staff, has been discussed with your team and addressed, in order to put a definitive end to it.
We draw your attention to the fact that the current situation contradicts the position of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, which in a previous letter assured us that it is opposed to any collaboration with a research or teaching entity located in an Israeli settlement. It also contravenes the guidelines of the European Commission, which cannot even indirectly finance this type of collaboration.
We count on your diligence to reassure us that this compliance with French, European and international legislation has been achieved, and we ask you to accept the expression of our best wishes.
President of AURDIP