Received om Septmebr 3, 2003

DOES THE WALL ALSO NEED TO CUT OUR CAMPUS INTO TWO ?

An emergency appeal by Sari Nusseibeh, University president

Al-Quds University, whose major Abu Dis campus straddles the imaginary
municipal line dividing Jerusalem from the West Bank, is next on line
in Israel's relentless Wall program. Some of the IDF's contracted huge
machinery now park in the seized University's main campus grounds, in
the middle of the football field. Slated for takeover is almost one
third (about seventy dunams) of the University grounds, with a
specially preserved pine wood, and areas in which the University had
hopes it would develop student sports facilities and a botanical
garden.

The University, home to almost 6000 students, has been for the past few
years in the forefront of the campaign to encourage Israeli-Palestinian
academic cooperation. The University campus has for the most part
during the past three years of bloody violence and confrontation been
fairly quiet, with students intent whenever allowed to reach the campus
on pursuing their research and studies. The ravaging of the campus
grounds, and the erection of a high cement wall in its midst blocking
the natural view across the valley, cannot but be an indelible
statement of enmity, aggression, and political as well as human
failure. This negative statement, written in concrete blocks in the
face of university students, stands in direct opposition to the
positive educational values we try to propagate at the University, such
as the necessity of breaking down the barriers of enmity, and the
building of bridges of understanding in order to enhance the prospects
for peace. We at the University sadly realize that the Wall is
currently an irreversible project, a symbol of the failure of
politicians and self-professed peace-makers. However, we believe that
it is possible, even obligatory, especially at this campus location, to
minimize its negative psychological effects on our student population.
The Wall could easily be built further down in the valley, or itself be
the western wall of the campus, which we had been prevented by the
Municipality so far from building. The presumed security imperative
would not be affected by such an adjustment. But the political and
psychological damage would be immeasurably reduced.

Help us instill some human and political sensitivity into the IDF's
planning department. Speak on our behalf by appealing to the Minister
at the following address. Your voice can make the difference. So can
your silence.

Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz
Telephone: 972(0)3-697-6663
Fax: 972(0)3-697-6218 sar@mod.gov.il
 

----------------------------------------------------------------

The ATFP is a not-for-profit corporation that aims to educate the
American people about the national security interests of the United
States in establishing a Palestinian state. Specifically, ATFP seeks
to promote the awareness of the far-reaching benefits that Palestinian
statehood will have for the United States in the following areas: (1)
enhancing national security, (2) proliferation of American values of
freedom and democracy, and (3) expansion of economic opportunities
throughout the Arab and Islamic worlds.

American Task Force on Palestine
815 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20006
Phone (202)887-0177 Fax (202)887-1920