The Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomed the decision saying, “Ariel is an integral part of the State of Israel and it will remain an integral part of Israel in any future arrangement, like the rest of the settlement blocs”.
Mr Netanayhu’s opinion however stands in stark contrast to the EU’s, the UN’s, America’s and well almost everyone else who considers Ariel to not be part of Israel but as part of occupied Palestinian territory – outside of Israel.
Xavier Abu Eid of the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department commented on the development saying, “Unfortunately Israel is making it clear that it’s not interested in ending the occupation. By continuing these trends it is making it almost impossible to get to a two-state solution”.
The UK’s foreign minister, William Hague joined in the volley of criticism this move provoked saying, “[the move] would further entrench the presence of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and create an additional barrier to peace with Palestinian.”
The political nature of this development was clearly spelt out by The Council of Presidents of Israeli Universities who said that, “this is political decision… there is no need for another university in Israel. This is a step that serves coalition and political interests and is bound to spell disaster for higher education in Israel.”
To add insult to injury, the admissions to this ‘university’ which is based on occupied Palestinian territory is only open to those with Israeli citizenship. This excludes all Palestinians living in the West Bank.
An ‘Israeli university’ based in occupied Palestinian lands that prohibits Palestinians from attending…
As Ariel is situated within the oPt it is deemed illegal under International Humanitarian Law (IHL). Specifically, according to Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention any kind of transfer of the occupying power’s population to the occupied territory is prohibited”. Thus, by its very existence, settlements in the West Bank are a violation of IHL.
Equally, transfer by the occupying power of parts of its own civilian population into the occupied territory is also listed as a war crime under Article 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).