On Saturday December 27th, 2008, the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) was ready to start the final exams of the fall semester for more than 20,000 students (60% of whom are women) enrolled into its 10 colleges -education, religion, art, commerce, Shariah law, science, engineering, information technology, medicine, and nursing. On that day, more than 60 American made Israeli F16 warplanes began to bomb the Palestinian population of Gaza at a time when the maximum number of children going to and coming from schools.
On Sunday December 28th, 2008, the Israeli F16 fighters bombed IUG during the recent horrific attack on the people of Gaza who have been under suffocating siege for about 2 years.
Two 5-story buildings were completely destroyed by Israeli warplanes: the Science Lab Building and the Engineering Lab Building. The two major buildings had more than 50 labs that contained invaluable scientific and medical equipment and devices, and many academic materials which were destroyed. The buildings targeted served as research and development centers for students, faculty and community.
The six-rocket bombardment of both buildings also caused wide damage to all university buildings, including the central library close to the labs buildings.
It is worth mentioning that since its establishment in 1987, IUG has faced many challenges and restrictions imposed by the Israeli military authorities. Yet, IUG managed to provide quality academic education and serve the local community. With the help and support of all good people in the world, the university campus was converted from simple tents and barracks of asbestos to a modern campus with recent facilities that match the best in the world.
The bombing and shelling come at a time IUG faces major financial difficulties as many students” families cannot pay fees due to high rate of unemployment caused by the siege imposed by the Israeli army.
The Israeli propaganda machine has accompanied the savage aggression in order to justify the extensive damage to many civilian facilities throughout the Gaza Strip including IUG, UN schools and food warehouses, 3 hospitals, 16 health facilities, 16 ambulances and the Headquarter of the Ministry of Education.
The Israeli propaganda broadcasts massive misinformation, allegations and lies about the targets Israeli warplanes destroyed. To prevent any verification of the Israeli false claims, The Israeli army prevented journalists and human rights monitors from entering Gaza during the aggression.
But the truth of the indiscriminate bombing and using both internationally banned white phosphorus shells and dime bombs has been confirmed by UN and other NGOs on the ground, including Israeli human rights groups and academics:
We firmly believe that the illegal Israeli occupation have deliberately and continuously targeted the Palestinian academic institutions, including IUG, in an attempt to keep the Palestinians ignorant and insecure so the oppressive Israeli occupation could last longer.
By destroying the university buildings, IUG is facing major disarray and delay in completing the second semester, entailing the inability of hundreds of students to graduate.
Such bombardment is a flagrant violation of international law including the Fourth Geneva Convention. This violation shows a total disregard for Palestinian rights to education and for the legitimacy of the international community and international law, declarations and resolutions.
We therefore call upon all academics, students, concerned bodies and the international community to show their support and solidarity to the right of the Palestinians to education:
1. Boycotting Israeli academic institutions and refraining from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation.
2. Lobbying (emails, letter, fax, etc) your MP and government to pressure the government of Israel to adhere to its legal obligations to end occupation and stop attacking Palestinian educational institutions.
3. Preparing and signing petitions calling on trade unions, education institutions, organizations, social and political movements and concerned individuals around the world to support the right to education in Palestine.
4. Organizing exchange visit to and from IUG to students and faculty members to come on a speaking tour to universities and organizations in your country.
5. Sponsoring students at IUG to enable them to continue their education.
6. Initiating active academic relations with IUG through departmental links; student and faculty exchange; joint research projects; and inclusion at international academic conferences.
7. Making a donation to reconstruct the IUG buildings and facilities.
8. Establishing connections with Palestinian universities, students and faculty, through solidarity links or academic exchange.
Below are some actions taken worldwide and can be replicated with necessary modifications:
For more relevant and accurate information, please visit these websites:
Please contact : public [at] iugaza.edu.ps
Your solidarity and support for the right to education in Palestine is vital and highly appreciated.