Political Philosophy Amidst the Ruins

Well, spring term is winding down at Felician U., so I guess I’m (riot)-gearing up for summer term at Al Quds U. Let’s hear it for the beneficence of the Israeli “Civil Administration” (which is what the military occupation calls itself), its undying respect for “purity of arms,” and the pinpoint accuracy of its “civilian” strikes (against noncombatant civilian targets). Learning Objective 1: try not to get tear gassed, shot, or arrested.

Israeli Occupation Assaults Al Quds University Early Tuesday Morning, April 5, 2016

University website: http://www.alquds.edu/en/

The Israeli occupation broke into Al-Quds University for the third time this academic year, at 2:30 am on Monday morning, April 5, 2016, with the clear aim of destruction and arson.  The force consisted of over 15 military vehicles and 200 soldiers, and confined university security in a room while they carried out the assault.

The assault lasted for over two hours.  They broke the main door of the Students Affairs Building and destroyed a book fair focusing on the rights and empowerment of women and children.  The Student Affairs Deanship is the university body mandated with educating students through extracurricular activities and managing their participation in student elections. The assault force destroyed a Christmas tree left over from the holiday season at the front of the building.  The assault force broke the doors of all student council offices and destroyed copy machines, computers, book shelves; they left water faucets open in the rooms in order to cause additional damage and spilled paint buckets.  They then assaulted the student club in the Faculty of Islamic Jurisprudence.   The assault forces patrolled the entire campus.

Students and university officials were shaken, shocked and deeply saddened by these continued violations.  Al Quds University officials are at a loss as to the reason for these continued violations and destruction and call upon the international community to issue statements condemning this assault and violations and demand that the Israeli occupation cease this illegal and unjustified attack on the university.

This assault represents an ongoing trend of targeting Palestinian universities with invasions and violence.  Al Quds University was attacked continuously last October resulting in severe damage to campus and over 700 causalities including suffocation from tear gas and rubber bullet injuries.  The University was again assaulted in the early morning hours of January 29th 2016.  In total we have suffered 4 large scale assaults this academic year, 2015-2016.

Such Actions are a clear violation of international law and norms as set out in the 1907 Hague Regulations, the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and customary international humanitarian law, which include the following prohibitions:

  • Deliberate attacks on civilians, including students and educators.
  • Deliberate attacks on civilian objects, which include education institutions not being used for military purposes.
  • Failing to take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians, such as using education institutions for military purposes while students and teachers remain present.
  • Using students and educators as human shields by preventing civilians from leaving from education institutions that are being controlled by a military force.

Other actions that may result in violations of international human rights and humanitarian law: The occupation or use of education institutions by armed forces and other armed groups may:

  • Undermine, prevent, or deter students from realizing their right to education.
  • Place students and educators at unnecessary risk of attack in violation of international humanitarian law.
  • Place students and educators at unnecessary risk of abuses of their fundamental rights to personal security by occupying forces.[i]

We call on the international community and local private, public and non-governmental organizations to stand with us in strongly condemning such blatant acts of violence and intimidation and preventing such attacks in the future.  We are a civilian institution of higher learning whose primary objective is educating Palestinian youth and preparing them for a constructive and positive future.  We are in need to protection in the face of continued assault by one of the most powerful and sophisticated military powers in the world, the Israeli occupation.  Maintaining a safe and welcoming environment for students to learn and develop is essential to our mission and the mission of all Palestinian Universities.

[i] http://www.protectingeducation.org/what-international-laws-are-violated

This assault took place, by the way, in Area B under the Oslo Accords, involving Palestinian “civil administration” and Israeli “security control,” supposedly in “cooperation” with the Palestinian police (non-existent for all intents and purposes, and unarmed where they do exist). You see how useful the A-B-C scheme is for explaining actual events in the West Bank. If this is what the combination of Israeli security and Palestinian civil administration looks like, try to imagine what Israeli security looks like in the total (de jure) absence of Palestinian civil administration (i.e., Area C). Not that its de jure presence means all that much. After all, it’s not as though, in the event of an Israeli military (sorry, “civil”) incursion, one can pick up the phone and dial 911 for assistance. Who exactly would come, and what would they do if they did?

If you think that the Israelis couldn’t possibly have done this without a justifiable reason, feel free to come up with the evidence for one. But unless some is produced, it’s not unreasonable to consider the possibility that their incursions are inspired by little more than malice in the service of power.

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