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Source: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
19 May 1992

United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization
Executive Board

Hundred and thirty-ninth Session

139 EX/6/Add.
PARIS, 19 May 1992
Original: English

Item 4.3.1 of the provisional agenda

Application of 26 C/Resolution 16 concerning educational
and cultural institutions in the occupied Arab territories


In the present addendum the Director-General informs the Executive Board of developments having taken place since the preparation of 139 EX/6.

1. As regards the University of Bir Zeit, the Permanent Observer of Palestine to UNESCO, by letter of 5 March 1992, conveyed to the Director-General the concerns expressed by Mr Hanna Nasir, President in exile of Bir Zeit University, at the decision of the Israeli military authorities to prolong the closure of the university for a further period of two months starting 1 March 1992. The Permanent Observer asked the Director-General to intervene again with the Israeli authorities so as to ensure the normal functioning of all educational institutions.

2. The Director-General responded, referring to his previous interventions and requests to the Israeli authorities through their Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, in order to ensure the normal functioning of the educational institutions including the University of Bir Zeit. The Director-General also provided information he had received from the Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Israel, through a letter of 3 March 1992, which indicated that the order of closure concerned only the campus of the university but did not disturb the university teaching.

3. Also on 24 April 1992, the Director-General responded to the Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Israel to UNESCO, acknowledging receipt of the Ambassador’s letter of 25 February 1992 which described the situation of higher education institutions in the occupied territories and conveyed to the Ambassador the concern expressed by Mr Hanna Nasir, the President in exile of Bir Zeit University at the prolongation of the closure of the university and requested that the situation of Bir Zeit be returned to normal. The Director-General also expressed the wish to discuss further with the Ambassador the situation of educational institutions and the Israeli Government’s position in this respect.

4. On 30 April 1992, the Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Israel, informed the Director-General that the Israeli Minister of Defence had informed the administration of Bir Zeit University on 19 April 1992 of the decision authorizing, in principle, the reopening of the campus of the university as from 29 April 1992. By virtue of this authorization, the Faculties of Science and Engineering would reopen and function during the coming semester in the new campus. If the education process continues normally, all other faculties will be authorized to reopen as well at the beginning of the new academic year (October 1992).

5. In a letter dated 27 April 1992, the Permanent Delegate of the Syrian Arab Republic informed the Director-General of developments in the Syrian Golan Heights, between the previous and the present sessions of the Executive Board, which had in his view resulted in further deterioration in the educational and cultural institutions. He expressed the wish that the relevant resolution of the General Conference be fully implemented and that special attention be given, in this context, to:

6. In a letter dated 30 April 1992, the Secretary-General of the Council for Higher Education informed the Assistant Director-General for Education that Palestinian students from the Gaza Strip, who seek education at the West Bank universities, are systematically harassed by the occupation forces, and academic freedom is not guaranteed for them. Faculty and students from the Gaza Strip must acquire a permit from the authorities before they can study or teach in any of the West Bank universities. The Secretary-General also reported that West Bank and Gaza Palestinian graduates of the off-campus studies are prevented by the Israeli military authorities from finding employment in the public sector, because the authorities say that those students graduated in defiance of a closure order. The Secretary- General concluded by stating that the Council was seeking assistance from all those who support peace and human rights to intervene and stop the Israeli measures imposed on Palestinian universities.

7. Educational consequences of the closure of schools

In his report of 23 April 1992 on the closure of schools in the occupied territories, the Director of the UNRWA-UNESCO Department of Education provided the following information:

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