Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Nablus - The latest cooperation agreements between the Quds University and the Hebrew University signed by Dr. Sri Nasiebah, in London sparked off public debate across Palestinian society, especially the academic sector regardless of their ideologies. The event brought the issue of normalization to the forefront after four and a half years of the Aqsa intifada.
What is disturbing in this event is the fact that the new normalization campaign was initiated by a Palestinian University rector, a matter that sparked off fears in the Palestinian street as to the future role of Palestinian Universities that traditionally spearheaded the defense of Palestinian rights in the face of occupation schemes.
The step generated angry reactions in the Palestinian street ranging from calls for boycotting the university and the sacking of Nasiebah to calls for rational and studied punishment that coincides with the national interests. The PA, for its part remained tight-lipped on the issue.
The timing that Nasiebah chose for establishing academic relations with the Zionist Universities represented by the Hebrew University was most odd as it coincided with a decision by Britain’s Association of University Teachers (AUT) to boycott Haifa and Bar Ilan universities, the first for sacking a lecturer who opposed occupation and the second for opening a college at a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.
Nasiebah, a normalization advocate
Nasiebah is viewed by the Palestinian people as one of the most controversial figures in the Palestinian arena. He is known for being an advocate of normalization and good relations with the occupiers, even during the most bloody Israeli military campaigns against the innocent Palestinian people.
He is often criticized by Islamic and nationalist figures, alike, due to his controversial stands and was accused of abandoning the Palestinian rights, including the right of return of Palestinian refugees being a signatory of the infamous Geneva document that cedes the right of return of 1948 Palestinian refugees.
On a number of occasions students denied him entry to the Quds University campus due to his political stands. He was belted with eggs and tomatoes by students when he visited al-Najah University in Nablus for the same reasons.
His name came to the forefront again during the commemoration of the 57th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba or catastrophe of 1948, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinian innocent civilians, including children, women, and elderly people, were either massacred or driven out of their homes by Israeli terrorist gangs at gunpoint. Palestinian activists and Islamic and nationalist forces warned against suspicious voices, including Nasiebah's, calling for abandoning the right of return and resorting instead to what they call “practical solutions to the issue of refugees”.
What makes Nasiebah’s latest act worse, is that on previous occasions he put his name to various initiatives, but this time he is trying to embroil a Palestinian national institution (the Quds University) in his adventures.
Slap on the face of national anti-normalization consensus
The council representing Syndicates of Palestinian University Teachers and Employees condemned Nasiebah’s step considering it as a slap on the face of the anti-normalization national consensus and the higher education council.
In a press statement, the council said that the stand of the Quds University rector flagrantly ignores in an undemocratic and irresponsible way the anti-normalization stand of the Quds University employees.
The Council urged the PA chief, Mahmoud Abbas, ministry of higher education, council of higher education, and the Quds University Board of Trustees to take the necessary steps to stop this trend that contradicts the Palestinian national constants, including relieving Nasiebah of his post.
"This suspicious attempt to normalize relations with Israel on the academic level comes at a time when Israeli government, headed by the butcher Sharon, ignores the international community and UN resolutions, intensifying the aggression against our people, disregarding the present calming down observed by the Palestinian side to promote peace, and usurping more Palestinian lands and proceeding with the construction of the racist separation wall that cuts the Palestinian land into Cantons", the council affirmed, urging all Palestinian institutions to unmask those steps and present, clearly, their stands on them.
Furthermore, the council denounced the act of Nasiebah of involving the University’s name into his adventures in a way that contradicts the general trend of the University students and workers as something unacceptable and doesn't coincide with the general interest of the institution.
Palestinian academic institutions and political forces joined their voices to those of the University academics and issued a statement denouncing the act of Nasiebah and accused him of deviating from national consensus and said that he isn't representing the great Palestinian people, according to the statement's words.
University students went on strike protesting Nasiebah's signing of the agreement with the Hebrew University and called for his immediate dismissal.
For its part, The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, warned of such treasonous acts of normalizing relations with Zionist Universities participating in the Israeli government's aggression against our innocent Palestinian civilians and students.
The Movement issued a statement saying "At the time when British academics and Arab educational institutions take honorable and valuable steps of boycotting this university and other Israeli universities, we are shocked by Palestinian institutions adopting a strange line and running after establishing and normalizing relations with those Zionist Universities, which constitutes a painful stab in the back of the Palestinian efforts to end occupation ".
"The Hebrew University that was established over our usurped beloved lands was still grabbing more Palestinian lands with full support of the Israeli occupation authorities and its occupation forces reflecting the ugly face of occupation through its curriculum and academic activities which deny the Palestinian people their right to independence", it added.
The Movement praised the nationalist steps taken by the Palestinian academics and educational institutions that expressed their rejection of establishing any kind of relation with the Zionist entity or any of its institutions in contrast with the crime Nasiebah committed against the Palestinian people. It urged the Palestinian ministry of higher education to take all the necessary steps to halt and cancel any coordination attempt with the Israeli institutions, especially the academic ones.
Aqsa Martyrs Brigades urges PA to sack Nasiebah
One of the strongest reactions to Nasiebah's act came from the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (AMB), armed wing of Fatah Movement, that accused him of collaboration with the Israeli occupation and urged the Palestinian Authority (PA) to immediately relieve him of his post similar to what other Palestinian Islamic and Nationalist forces and syndicates demanded .
"He fatally stabbed the Palestinian issue when he helped break the British boycott of Israeli Universities by his untimely malicious act", AMB's statement said.
The Israeli lobby in Britain pressured the British academics to retract their decision; however, Nasiebah's act gave them a strong excuse expediting their retraction, especially, when he described the boycott decision as "a wrong decision".
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