Palestinian Astrophysicist Faces Indictment For Incitement


Despite a successful appeal against the administrative detention of prominent Palestinian astrophysicist Dr. Imad Barghouthi, 54, of Al Quds University in east Yerushalayim, military authorities decided to keep him in jail and indict him for incitement to violence. Barghouthi is also suspected of having ties to Hamas.

At the height of the 2014 Gaza War, Barghouthi was videoed calling on West Bank Arabs to “take up arms to defend your homes.” He also appeared in public videos giving support to Hamas’ military wing and its terror activities against Israel.

350 academics worldwide signed an appeal to Prime Minister Netanyahu urging “the immediate release of Dr. Imad Ahmad Barghouthi from Israeli military custody.”

Ignoring the fact that Barghouthi publicly incited people to violence, the letter noted that he was released from an earlier arrest in 2014 following letters of protest from international scientific organizations, including the Committee of Concerned Scientists in the United States.

“The re-arrest of Professor Barghouthi is part of a broader pattern of disruption and suppression of Palestinian educational systems,” the appeal claimed. “The University of Gaza has been bombed multiple times. Birzeit University in the West Bank has been closed down at least 15 times by the Israeli military, and its former president, Dr. Hanna Nasir, a physicist, was deported and remained in exile for 19 years. Arrests of faculty and students, in some cases because of Facebook posts in opposition to military occupation, have continued into 2016. Israel has destroyed or damaged hundreds of Palestinian schools, even kindergartens.”

Without bothering to discuss whether Israel perhaps had good reason to commit these “misdeeds,” the letter concludes, “Article 26 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Israel is a signatory, grants all people the right to education. We urge you henceforth to respect those principles and to order the immediate release of Professor Imad Barghouthi.”

David Steger – Israel


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