University of Sydney academics sign pledge to boycott Israeli universities

Academics at the University of Sydney signed a pledged to boycott Israeli universities following the recent killings of Palestinian protesters in Gaza. (Shutterstock)
Updated 13 April 2018
0

University of Sydney academics sign pledge to boycott Israeli universities

  • Signed by at least 37 university professors and research fellows, the petition vows to break all official contact with Israeli universities until Israel complies with international law

Academics at the University of Sydney signed a pledged to boycott Israeli universities following the recent killings of Palestinian protesters in Gaza, The Australian reported on Thursday.

Signed by at least 37 university professors and research fellows, the petition vows to break all official contact with Israeli universities until Israel complies with international law and the principles of human rights, as well as recognise Palestinians’ right to return to the homes from which they were expelled from during the 1948 war.

The move follows the principles of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement which works to end international support for “Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.”

A senior lecturer at the University of Sydney and a member of its BDS group, said the lack of international condemnation following this month’s killing of at least 30 unarmed Palestinian protesters and the wounding of hundreds of others had made the campaign necessary.

The protests call on Israel to accept the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees and their descendants.


Syrian children study on the ground in abandoned villa

Displaced Syrian children attend class at a makeshift school in the village of Muhandiseen, in the south western countryside of the Aleppo province, on September 24, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 25 September 2018
0

Syrian children study on the ground in abandoned villa

  • Some sit with their knees drawn on a plastic woven carpet, their shoes neatly by its side

ALEPPO, Syria: In rebel-held northern Syria, displaced children sit or lie on the ground of an unfinished villa, bending over their notebooks to apply themselves as they write the day’s lesson.
Four teachers instruct around 100 children — girls and boys aged six to 12 — at the makeshift school in an opposition-held area in the west of the northern province of Aleppo.
Between the bare walls of the villa abandoned mid-construction, children sit or lie on sheets or plain carpets, their small backpacks cast by their side.
Dubbed “Buds of Hope,” the teaching facility has no desks, library or even working toilets.
Instead, the air wafts in from beyond the pine trees outside through the gaping windows in the cement wall.
Dressed in a bright blue T-shirt and jeans, her hair neatly tied back in a pony tail, a barefoot girl kneels over her book, carefully writing.
“This isn’t a school,” says 11-year-old Ali Abdel Jawad.
“There aren’t any classrooms, no seats, nothing. We’re sitting on the ground,” he says.
In one classroom, a gaggle of veiled young girls sit on a bench, as the teacher explains the lesson to one of their male counterparts near a rare white board.
In another, the school’s only female teacher perches on a plastic chair, as her students gather around on the floor, their backs against the wall.

Some sit with their knees drawn on a plastic woven carpet, their shoes neatly by its side.
The children — as well as their teachers — have been displaced from their homes in other parts of Syria due to the seven-year war, a teacher told an AFP photographer.
Some hail from Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus, a former rebel stronghold that fell back under regime control in April after a blistering offensive and surrender deals.
Others come from the central provinces of Hama or Homs.
A dry fountain lies in the courtyard outside the villa’s elegant facade, where girls link arms and swing around in a circle.
Schools in opposition-held areas are generally funded by aid organizations, but have in the past been hit by bombardment.
“We’re always scared of bombardment and of the situation in general,” says one of the teachers, giving his name as Mohammed.
The building lies in rebel-held territory adjacent to regime-controlled parts of Aleppo city to the east, but also the major opposition stronghold of Idlib to the west.
Some three million people live in the Idlib province and adjacent areas of the neighboring Aleppo and Latakia provinces, around half of them displaced by war in other parts of Syria.
Earlier this month, many feared a regime assault on Idlib, but last week Damascus ally Moscow and rebel backer Ankara announced a deal to temporarily halt it.