Monday, January 25, 2010

Israel Creates First 'Army-owned' University

By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth
Palestine Chronicle

"Ehud Barak, Israel's defence minister, approved last week the upgrading to university status of a college in a settlement located deep inside the West Bank, a move certain to further undermine Palestinian confidence in the peace process.

The decision, authorising the first Israeli university in Palestinian territory, is expected to entitle the college to significant extra funding, allowing it to expand its student population.

About 11,000 students, most from inside Israel, already attend the college in Ariel, studying amid a population of 18,000 settlers.....

Ariel College plans to double its intake of students over the next decade, triple the size of its campus and build a new neighbourhood for staff. About 70 per cent of the college’s students are drawn from the Tel Aviv area inside Israel, as well as a small number of Israeli Arab students.

The college displays an Israeli flag in every classroom and requires all students to take at least one course on Judaism or Jewish heritage, usually overseen by settler rabbis.

Ariel, the fourth-largest settlement in the West Bank, is considered by most Israelis as one of the “settlement blocs” that will be annexed to Israel in a peace deal. Palestinians say such an annexation would effectively cut the West Bank in two....."

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