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Title: Palestinian Universities Under Occupation, November 1986–January 1987
Authors: Johnson, Penny 
Keywords: Higher education - Palestine;Universities and colleges - Palestine;College students - Political activity - Palestine;Higher education - Political aspects - Palestine
Issue Date: 1987
Publisher: Journal of Palestine Studies
Abstract: On 20 January heads of universities in the occupied territories were summoned by the military authorities to Nablus to meet an "important person." They arrived to find Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, principal architect of the current Israeli policy towards the universities. Rabin, flanked by Coordinator for the Occupied Territories Shlomo Goren and Civil Administration head Ephraim Sneh, told university administrators they must prevent political demonstrations on campus and warned, according to Council of Higher Education head Dr. Anton Sarsour, that "if there was a need to close down the universities, he would." Rabin's tough talk was repeated to the assembled Israeli media, who apparently knew in advance the identity of the "important person" and the time of the meeting. Perhaps the best summary of the hour-long meeting was given by Dr. Gabi Baramki, vice president (and acting president) of Birzeit University. When asked if there were veiled threats to close the universities, Baramki succinctly replied, "there were no veils." Rabin's threat of closure of the universities and permanent closure "if necessary," according to participants in the meeting, has been heard before, both from Rabin and other Israeli policymakers. Rabin stressed two themes. The first, as reported by the Jerusalem Post of 21 January, is that "in the last four or five months, the universities have again become the center of unrest in the area, more than any other institutions in the West Bank." (Given the Israeli dissolution of most other national institutions, such as the municipalities, the universities remain as the primary locus for expressions of Palestinian nationalism.) A corollary is that the military authorities are now determined to prevent "political demonstrations." For Rabin these include peaceful on-campus political rallies, which, in his words, "raise tension in the area."
DOI: 10.2307/2536794
Appears in Collections:Fulltext Publications

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