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Birzeit University slams Israel’s denial of entry of UK academic

September 16, 2016 at 7:17 pm

Birzeit University has condemned an Israeli decision to ban a senior lecturer at the UK’s School of Oriental and African Studies from entering the country.

Dr. Adam Hanieh had been invited by the Ph.D. Programme in the Social Sciences at Birzeit University to deliver a series of lectures at the university; however he was deported back to London on Tuesday morning.

Hanieh was held for questioning for 10 hours at Ben Gurion airport, and then taken overnight to a detention centre outside the airport. He has also been banned from entering Israel for ten years.

In a statement, Birzeit University said: “This policy represents an attack on Palestinian academic freedom, and is routinely practiced at the two entry points, the airport in Tel Aviv and the Jordan valley crossing from Jordan.”

“Birzeit University is not surprised by this latest instance of the policy, and hereby draws attention to its destructive effects.”

From 1997-2003, Hanieh worked in the NGO and public sectors in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, where he completed an Masters in regional studies at Al-Quds University.

Responding to the news, a SOAS spokesperson described it as “deeply worrying that another of our researchers has been prevented legitimately accessing the country.”

The spokesperson said that “earlier this year the Director of SOAS Baroness Valerie Amos met with the Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom to express strong concerns about the detention and deportation of a SOAS research student at Ben Gurion airport in 2015.”

SOAS is now “writing to the Israeli Embassy to raise our serious concerns and ask for further information.”

The statement concluded: “SOAS has a large number of academics actively engaged in research on the Middle East across a broad range of disciplines. Ensuring our researcher have appropriate access to the regions in which we specialise –  Asia, Africa and the Middle East – is of critical importance to our work.”