Spain excludes settlement university from academic competition

Jerusalem/Barcelona – The”University Center of Ariel in Samaria” has been excluded from a prestigious university competition about sustainable architecture in Spain.With this move, Spain joins the growing number of European governments to boycott institutions and corporations involved with Israeli settlements and the Wall. . .

“Ariel University Centre of Samaria” was one out of 21 teams selected last April to compete for the Solar Decathlon-Madrid 2010, the most prestigious competition for sustainable architecture in the world, initiated by the U.S. Department of Energy and nowadays organized by the Spanish Ministry of Housing together with the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid [M1] .[1]

Selected teams, formed by architects and engineering students are asked to design and build a real house entirely driven by solar energy. Every house should be built in one of the 20 sites waiting for them in the “Solar Villa” planned in Madrid to host them. To facilitate participation of the various teams, the Spanish Ministry of Housing allocated a sum of 100.000 Euros for every project.

Last Wednesday,September 16th, Sergio Vega, General Director of Solar Decathlon Europeaddressed all participant teams to communicate the exclusion of AUCS: “The decision has been taken by the Government of Spain based upon the fact that the University is located in the West Bank. The Government of Spain is obliged to respect the international agreements under the framework of the European Union and the United Nations regarding this geographical area”. It represents the first case of sanctions against an Israeli academic institution in Spain.

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) in Palestine has taken up the campaign against official Spanish support of the illegal Israeli university in occupied Palestinian territory following an initiative of the UK based professional association Architects and Planners for Justice and Peace (APFJP). The support of many individuals and organizations in Spain for the cancellation of AUCS” participation in the Solar Decathlon had culminated in a parliamentary question in the Spanish Parliament [2] and the eventual exclusion of the settlement from the competition.

This move of the Spanish state follows the decision of the UK government not to rent offices from Israeli settlement builder Lev Leviev and the divestment of the Norwegian Pension Fund from Elbit, an Israeli company providing surveillance equipment to the Wall.

The BNC congratulates the Spanish university teachers, parliamentarians and organizations for this principled stand with the Palestinian people and international law and calls for sustained support of the Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with ending the occupation, facilitating the right of Palestinian refugees to return and ensuring equal rights for all Palestinian citizens of Israel.

For more information please see the Palestinian BDS call:

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