Appendix A What Arab Students say
1. An open letter from a student at London School of Economics, written in 2005 against the AUT boycott
My name is Amir Kneifiss and I am an Israeli Druze currently studying towards an MSc. in Governance at the LSE. I am
writing as a former student at Haifa University, the institute you decided to boycott a few weeks ago and the place where
I spent the best years of my life studying history and politics.
Haifa is a university in which one of every five students is Arab; in which loud but civilised political debates take
place regularly; and one in which nobody was ever denied his/her freedom of expression. In my opinion, it is a hotbed of peace
and dialogue that should be studied as a model for coexistence and not the opposite. Nevertheless, misled by a frustrated
lecturer, you decided to boycott this amazing and diverse institute.
Israel is much more complicated than a newspaper headline. As with many ethnic or national minorities around the world,
there are difficulties in integrating Israeli-Arabs and other minorities into the mainstream society. Much more needs to be
done in these aspects. Yet, I am a firm believer that change can be made through engagement in the many facets of Israeli
democracy and I reject the false allegations portraying Israel as an apartheid and racist state. Not only it is wrong and
deceptive, but it will do little to help us in the Middle East confront the real problems and promote peace between Israelis
The misleading arguments about Haifa University are only one example. More disturbing is the one-sided depiction of
Israel, portrayed by some extremists who have never really intended to understand the complexities. Nobody, for instance,
mentioned that in Ariel College there are currently 300 Arab students and that only last week, three Israeli-Arab Mayors publicly
supported the College for its contribution to reducing inequalities. Yes, the occupied territories should be used to establish
a viable Palestinian State. Nevertheless, instead of boycotting Israeli institutions, it is much more helpful to explore the
various mechanisms capable of satisfying the interests of both sides (e.g. land swap).
An end to the occupation will not come from a blunt boycott, but from pragmatic solutions accommodating both sides
' desires. Only political negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians - and not the imposition of sanctions from the outside
- will help to create a better future for us all. Therefore, although I am only in my twenties, I believe spreading hatred
is the most ineffective way of promoting these goals. We need to bridge the gap, not extend it.
If you oppose discrimination and believe in peace, open dialogue and constructive debate, you should see why this boycott
must be overturned. It helps none of us and shows one-sided hostility to Israel more than a love of peace.
Please do write to me if you are interested in hearing more about my point of view, and please defend dialogue, for
the benefit of all of us.
Amir Kniefiss Government Department London School of Economics A.Kneifiss@lse.ac.uk
2. Article about a Jewish college on the West Bank
Extracts from an article By Shira Philosof - Haaretz June 22, 2005 about a Jewish college on the West Bank
When Ala Fakhory told his parents that he intended to study at the College of Judea & Samaria in Ariel, they were
deeply opposed. It was not ideology that caused them to question his decision - it was fear that he would be surrounded by
settlers who roam the college armed with pistols. Fakhory, who is one of 250 Arab students who attend the college, insisted.
Near the end of his third year of study for a degree in electronic engineering, Fakhory says he experienced no racism on the
part of students or faculty. In fact, he says, "Everyone treated me well."
Tall, slender, 24-year-old Fakhory was born and lives in the Arab community of Issawiyeh in East Jerusalem. Before
beginning his studies at Ariel, he completed two years toward his degree in electronic engineering at the Ort College and
he has worked for four years in the East Jerusalem Electric Company.
Despite that, even Fakhory was pleasantly surprised. "There is undisclosed racism everywhere. I don't even feel that
kind of hidden racism here. Until now, I haven't felt that anyone treated me poorly. Not the faculty or the students."
In order to lend weight to these statements, Fakhory says that about two weeks after he began his studies, he entered
a class expecting to see, "a lecturer with a skullcap and a personal weapon. But the professor was really nice. The first
month of study was difficult, but there were professors who helped me until I was integrated. One of them is Eliyahu Farber."
Other Arab students also feel comfortable at the college. When Mahmoud Amash, 22, from Jisr al-Zarqa, wants to describe
his satisfaction with the college, he says he often stays here on weekends. When asked if he had a problem settling into an
academic institution located in the territories, with a majority of Jewish students, he says no. He had Jewish friends, from
Binyamina and Hadera, when he was a high school student in the village, he says. Moreover, he has more Jewish friends than
Arab friends in the college.
Amash is an outgoing, smiling second-year student seeking a degree in criminology. He learned of the college through
ads published in the media and lives in the dormitories. In his opinion, one of the reasons Arab students study here is because,
"criminology is not taught at every university. It is easier to be accepted here, despite the fact that the courses are difficult.
Assistance and tutoring is available, which makes it easier to be integrated."
The College is certainly a melting pot for Israel. We have religious students and secular students, and 1,000 new immigrants
- Russians, Ethiopians and from a few other countries. We also have the second highest number of Ethiopian students (in total
numbers) among all other universities and colleges.
Appendix B – Land sales in Israel
The 93% figure so commonly quoted as being forbidden for sale to Arabs is either due to a sad lack of understanding
or a deliberate distortion of the true position, Of the total land in Israel, 79.5% is owned by the government, 14% is privately
owned by the JNF, (making a subtotal of 93.5%), and the rest, around 6.5%, is evenly divided between private Arab and Jewish
owners. The factual position is that until a recent court ruling, 79.5% of the land had been available equally to Jews, Arabs
and all other sectors of the community. This land, however, which is administered by the Israel Land Administration (ILA),
is not sold, but leased on long terms.
There has in fact been much internal debate about restrictions in allocating the 14%, owned by the Jewish National
Fund (JNF) and originally purchased for the specific purpose of settling Jews.
To understand the complex situation, three factors are highly relevant, viz. Leasehold, the JNF and the Jewish Agency.
Most of the land in all parts of Israel, is held under the feudal leasehold system, which many are trying to change. There
have been many moves to alter this system and the Israeli government has announced plans to privatize much of Israel's state-owned
land and offer cheap building permits to citizens willing to move to away from the crowded central area.
Before regarding leasehold as another diabolical Israeli invention, it is relevant to bear in mind that leasehold is
common in other countries too. It is still the most common form of flat ownership in Britain whereby those buying a flat,
buy only the right to occupy it, usually long-term, around 100 years, without actually owning it.
In fact, dissatisfaction among Britain's 3.1 million leaseholders led to The Leasehold and Commonhold Reform Act 2002
which was intended to end bitter disputes between freeholders and leaseholders,
The Jewish National Fund (JNF) was founded in 1901 for purchasing lands in the Ottoman's Empire territories for settlement
of Jews, (remember the blue boxes in almost every Jewish home in the Diaspora?). In 1960, the JNF transferred the management
of its lands to a newly created agency, the Israel Lands Administration (ILA) and the principle was established that the land
would be leased rather than sold. The agreement placing JNF land under government administration incorporated a restriction
that JNF land should leased only to Jews in accordance with the JNF’s original purpose. As described in more detail
later, the high court has nevertheless ruled that no discrimination is allowed even in the allocation of this JNF land.
In practice, JNF land has even in the past been leased to Arab citizens of Israel, both for short-term and long-term
use such as leases on a yearly basis to Bedouins for use as pasture. In other cases, JNF land has been traded for other, unrestricted,
land so it can be leased to Arabs.
he Jewish Agency
The Jewish Agency was established in 1929 in accordance with the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine which
included the concept of a "Jewish agency " comprised of representatives of world Jewry to assist in the " establishment of
the Jewish National Home . . . in Palestine."
ARTICLE 4 of the British Mandate over Palestine stated
An appropriate Jewish agency shall be recognized as a public body for the purpose of advising and cooperating with
the Administration of Palestine in such economic, social and other matters as may affect the establishment of the Jewish national
home and the interests of the Jewish population in Palestine, and, subject always to the control of the Administration, to
assist and take part in the development of the country.
Among its activities, the Agency has been responsible for resettlement of new immigrants, and in accordance with the
Mandate decision, the building of new settlements for the Jewish population. This has been interpreted in the past as reserving
such settlements for Jews.
The situation regarding restriction in leasing JNF or Jewish Agency land to non-Jews was brought to a head in 1994
when Adel Ka'adan, an Arab nurse at the Hillel Yaffeh Medical Center in Hadera and his family applied for a plot of land in
Katzir, a suburban neighborhood near his village and was turned down flat, (as is known to happen in communities abroad who
try to maintain homogeneity and common interests). The settlement was established on state land in 1982 by the Jewish Agency
in cooperation with the Katzir Cooperative Society, which accepted only Jewish members.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, filed a suit on the Kaadans' behalf. In its March 2000 decision, the High
Court ruled 4-1 that the state couldn’t discriminate between Arabs and Jews in land allocation. The one dissenting judge,
Ya'acov Kedmi, agreed that the state has no right to discriminate against Arabs on state lands, but he added that the Jewish
Agency, which was formed to promote Jewish settlement in Israel, has the right to decide who can benefit from its resources.
Following its ruling, the High Court ordered the Katzir membership committee to consider the couple's candidacy and not base
its decision on religion or nationality.
Eventually, in May 2004 the high court ruled that The Ka'adan family is not only entitled to purchase a lease in Katzir,
but they can do so at the price prevailing in 1995, when they first inquired about settling there.
The absurdity of drawing parallels between South African apartheid is the deliberate ignoring of essential differences.
In South Africa discrimination was enforced by law. In Israel, the situation is the direct opposite as evidenced by this decision,
evidencing that the Israeli courts vigorously enforce equality, even pronouncing against the government.
Commenting on the court verdict, Dan Yakir, an attorney for the Kadans was quoted as saying "The court is emphasizing
the universalistic values inherent in Judaism – that to act in accordance with Jewish values is to act with justice
Court President Aharon Barak wrote for a 4-1 majority. "The Jewish character of the state does not permit Israel to
discriminate among its citizens. In Israel, Jews and non-Jews are citizens with equal rights and responsibilities” This
conclusion is derived both from the values of Israel as a democratic state and from the values of Israel as a Jewish state,”
The flip side is that there is still some discrimination, but in the form of affirmative action. The ILA sometimes
offers Israeli Arabs more favorable terms than it does to Israeli Jews. It charged the equivalent of $24,000 for a capital
lease on a quarter of an acre in new Jewish communities near Beersheva while Bedouin families in the nearby community of Rahat
paid only $150 for the same amount of land.
When a Jewish policeman from Beersheva, Eleizer Avitan, applied to the ILA to lease land in a Bedouin community under
the same highly subsidized terms available to the Bedouins, the ILA refused. When he sued, Israel's Supreme Court ruled in
favor of the ILA, saying that what might be viewed as ILA discrimination against the Jewish citizen Avitan was justified as
affirmative action for Bedouin citizens.
Contrast with Policies of Israel’s neighbors
Human Rights activists who eagerly point out every wart in Israel are either ignorant of the situation in neighboring
states, or deliberately ignore them. In sharp contrast to the enforcement of equality by Israeli courts, the PA passed a law
in 1997 authorizing the execution of Palestinians who sell land to Jews and in fact several have been summarily executed.
As recently as April 13, 2006 Haaretz reported that the body of East Jerusalem Palestinian Mohammed Abu al-Hawa, was found in a burned out car in the West Bank city of Jericho. The al-Hawa family was one of two families who had sold
a pair of apartment buildings on the Mount of Olives. The family, said that seven bullets had been fired at Mohammed’s
head and car. Palestinian sources said he had also been beaten around the head.
Fatah gunmen in Jericho claimed responsibility for the murder, condemning the victim as a "traitor." In a leaflet,
the gunmen threatened to kill any Arab who dares to sell his house to Jews.
A while before, rioting had broken out in the neighborhood and a restaurant belonging to a member of the al-Hawa family
was torched. Palestinian sources said that one family member had been abducted to Ramallah for interrogation by the Palestinian
In an effort to secure his release, the family then published an announcement in an East Jerusalem newspaper, claiming
that the buildings were not sold to Jews directly, but to Palestinian buyers who, in turn, sold the property to a Jordanian
The crime was compounded when residents of the A-Tur neighborhood prevented the burial of Muhammad Abu al-Hawa, in
a local cemetery and his family was eventually forced to bury him in a makeshift cemetery on the road between Jerusalem and
This murder is consistent with Yasser Arafat’s statement in an interview with Yediot Ahronot, on May 20, 1997
in which he said "I warned the land dealers several times through the media not to play with fire. For us, whoever sells land
to Jews and settlers is more dangerous than collaborators. Therefore, they must be put on trial and sentenced to death ...
they are traitors. And to the Washington Post, May 20, 1997, he said "Expect the unexpected ... nobody from this moment will
accept any traitor who sells his land to Israelis." (back)
LAND LAW IN JORDAN
In Jordan, under the direct instructions of King Husein, the government of Jordan in 1973 passed the "Law for Preventing
the Sale of Immovable Property to the Enemy." The enemy being defined as "any man or judicial body [corporation] of Israeli
citizenship living in Israel or acting on its behalf." Any Jordanian who sold land in Jordan or the West Bank to the "enemy"
faced the death penalty and forfeiture of all his property to the state:
Following the peace treaty with Israel, the law was repealed, but milder statutes still effectively bar Israelis from
purchasing or leasing land in Jordan.