[QODLink]
Middle East

Israel endorses first university in West Bank

Decision to grant college in Jewish settlement near Nablus university status condemned by Palestinian officials.
Last Modified: 25 Dec 2012 06:45
Most world powers see Israeli settlements on land that Palestinians seek for a state as illegal [Al Jazeera]

Israel has upgraded a college in a West Bank Jewish settlement to a university, reflecting a determination to keep control of the enclave in any peace deal with the Palestinians.

The decision on Monday gives the Ariel campus, established in 1982 near the city of Nablus, the same status as universities inside Israel, in a move that could trigger international condemnation and enrage the Palestinians.

Palestinians consider the West Bank to be part of their future state. Most of the international community agrees and considers Israel's West Bank settlements illegal and an obstacle to peace.

The move 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 Benyamin Netanyahu's office said in a statement.

In September, Israel's Council for Higher Education, which regulates the seven universities in the Jewish state, opposed the move, branding it political and filed a petition against it to the High Court of Justice.

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.

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.

336

Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.