Motion of the Italian Middle East Studies Society on Ariel University

Motion adopted by the Italian Middle East Studies Society on February 1st, 2019.


– Following the recent inclusion of Ariel University, whose location in the occupied Palestinian territory is a clear violation of international law, among the institutions accredited by the Council of Higher Education of Israel, some members of SeSaMO express the desire to clarify the relationship between the state bodies representing Italian academic and research institutions and their counterparts in Israel;

– This motion calls on the SeSaMO Presidency and its Board of Directors to:

  1. To send a letter to the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) asking for clarification on the nature of future relationships that MUIR intends to engage in with the Council of Higher Education of Israel in light of the law recently passed by the Israeli parliament (Knesset), which includes Ariel University, located in the occupied territory of the West Bank, on the list of universities under the direct legal authority of the State of Israel through its Council of Higher Education;
  2. To stress in the text of the letter that the critical aspect of this decision lies in the fact that Ariel University, just as the illegal settlement in which it is located, is built on occupied Palestinian territory in open violation of international law. Indeed, the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the transfer of the civilian population and the construction of settlements within militarily occupied territories. In 1998 the International Criminal Court defined these acts as “war crimes” in its statute;
  3. To first and foremost urge MIUR not to accredit or recognize in any way (academic qualifications, framework agreements, interuniversity collaborations of any kind) Ariel University or other institutions of higher education located in illegal Israeli settlements, in line with the policies of the Italian government and the European Union of non-recognition of illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory and in line with the norms of international law;
  4. Secondly, to inquire if, given the extension of legal authority by the State of Israel over Ariel University located in the occupied West Bank, also through the inclusion of this university in the list of institutions accredited by the Council of Higher Education of Israel, MIUR intends to maintain a relationship of equal and reciprocal recognition with an institution, the Council of Higher Education of Israel, which, following the recent approval of the above stated law, effectively becomes an institution that includes within its own universities whose presence in the Palestinian territories is the result of war crimes and repeated violations of international law, on the part of the Israeli authorities.

– Lastly, with this motion, we formally ask SeSaMO to continue to refrain from relationships with Ariel University in compliance with international law.