Israel establishes first university in occupied West Bank
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel upgraded a college in a West Bank Jewish settlement to a university on Monday, reflecting a determination to keep control of the enclave in any peace deal with the Palestinians.
The decision gives the Ariel campus, established in 1982 near the city of Nablus, the same status as universities inside Israel. It comes after Israel announced plans to expand other settlements on occupied land, drawing protest from European governments and the United States.
"For the first time in decades, Israel has a new university," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said in a statement.
Final approval came from military chiefs, who formalised a cabinet decision in September. Their decision was delayed while experts examined legal challenges from other universities that opposed the upgrade.
Some Israeli university heads argued that public funding for the new university would come at their expense.
The Palestinian Higher Education Office also condemned the decision and urged universities worldwide to boycott the institution.
Most world powers see Israeli settlements on land that Palestinians seek for a state as illegal and an obstacle to peace.
European nations and Washington have criticised Netanyahu's plans to build as many as 6,000 more settlement homes, announced since a November 29 United Nations vote gave Palestinians effective recognition as a state and angered Israel.
European governments have summoned Israeli ambassadors to protest at the expansion of settlements, particularly those established on captured land that Israel annexed to Jerusalem in a move that was never recognised internationally.
Israel has signalled it intends to retain control of several larger settlement blocs such as Ariel under any future pact, while the fates of other enclaves may be negotiated.
(Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this
- U.S. strikes have slowed Iraq militants but not weakened them - Pentagon
- California lawmakers end session with bills on plastic bags, gun control
- India nears $2.5 billion deal for Boeing military helicopters
- CBI charges Dayanidhi Maran, Malaysian tycoon in telecoms scandal
- Saudi king warns of terrorism threat to U.S., Europe
Ukraine called on Friday for full membership in NATO, its strongest plea yet for Western military help after accusing Russia of sending in armoured columns that have driven back its forces on behalf of pro-Moscow rebels. Full Article
Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif distances himself from army as crisis drags on. Full Article
Captain of doomed S.Korea ferry says lack of checks was customary - Yonhap. Full Article