Urgent Appeal from Birzeit University, Palestine


March 10th, 2001

We, faculty and  staff  at  Birzeit  University,  appeal  to  our
colleagues and friends around the world to help us in  delivering
our simple but urgent message -- let our people live! We will  be
delivering this message in peaceful marches  of  protest  to  the
Israeli  soldiers  and  tanks  that  currently  prevent  us  from
reaching  our  University  by   the   only   road   that   allows
accessibility and that has been recently blocked.  The  suffering
of Palestinians in surrounding villages  who  are  cut  off  from
their livelihoods, health  care,  schools  and  markets  is  also
acute. So far protests have only been met with bullets  and  tear
gas. We need your help to bring our message to the world.

The wave of  violence  against  the  Palestinian  population  has
reached unprecedented proportions. The Israeli army's  policy  of
siege through blocking roads and digging  trenches  around  towns
and  villages  has  been  escalating,   making   it   practically
impossible to meet people's very basic needs.

This policy has now reached Birzeit University, preventing us and
our students from reaching campus to continue our  classes,  labs
and academic life.

On 7 March 2001 in the dead of night, the Israeli army  destroyed
portions of the only road linking  the  University  to  Ramallah,
gouging out trenches and destroying about 400 meters of  asphalt.
This damage to the only road linking  Ramallah  City  to  Birzeit
village and 33 other villages with a population  of  about  65000
has resulted in the total disruption  of  daily  life.  To  date,
cars, ambulances and provisions are not able to cross to and from
Birzeit and  surrounding  villages.  Most  Palestinian  populated
areas have already been  hermetically  sealed,  disregarding  all
standards   of   dealing   with   civilians   and    contravening
international law, particularly  the  Fourth  Geneva  Convention.
These measures are, in the full sense of the term, war crimes.

With these actions, it becomes clear that such policies are  part
of a long term strategy that Israel is pursuing in both the  Gaza
Strip and the West  Bank.  This  strategy  has  been  adopted  by
successive Israeli Governments, both  of  Barak  and  Sharon,  in
order to subjugate the entire population, and will them to accept
the unacceptable.

We call on you to ACT NOW:

1. Call for an immediate end to the closure policies.

2. Call for  the  international  protection  of  the  Palestinian

3. Demand that Israel abide by international law.

Call the nearest Israeli Embassy  in  your  area,  or  send  your
protests to the Israeli Government on these email addresses.

Benjamin Beneliazer, Israeli Minister of Defense at sar@mod.gov.il

and Shimon Peres, Israeli Foreign Minister at sar@mofa.gov.il

For further follow up, please visit the Birzeit Website at