SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: October 19, 2023

Attack Types: Other

Institution(s):University College of Applied Sciences, Gaza

Region & Country:Western Asia | Palestine (OPT)

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On October 19, 2023, Israeli forces destroyed the University College of Applied Sciences, located in Gaza city.

The shelling took place two weeks after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, 2023; an attack during which over 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals were killed and more than 200 abducted. As of mid- February 2024, the Israeli military’s subsequent bombardment of the Gaza Strip has reportedly killed more than 29,000 Palestinians.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about attacks on universities. Parties to a conflict may only attack legitimate military targets; where a party suspects that a civilian facility—such as a university building—is being used for military purposes, that party has a duty to take every action practicable to verify that this suspicion is correct before initiating an attack. In the event of such an attack, parties must take all practicable precautions to avoid or minimize damage to civilian facilities. Likewise, parties must refrain from using higher education facilities for military purposes during active conflict. Further, parties must refrain from launching attacks which may be expected to cause disproportionate damage to civilian facilities.

UPDATE:

On January 22, 2024, Israeli forces shelled the University College of Applied Sciences again. At the time of the attack, the university was functioning as a shelter for displaced persons.

Sources:
https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/several-palestinians-killed-as-israel-attacks-2-universities-3-schools-sheltering-30000-displaced-people-in-gaza-3676369
https://www.dailysabah.com/world/mid-east/israel-storms-another-gaza-hospital-attacks-universities-schools
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/several-palestinians-killed-as-israel-attacks-2-universities-3-schools-sheltering-30-000-displaced-people-in-gaza/3115340
https://mesana.org/advocacy/committee-on-academic-freedom/2024/01/25/letter-condemning-the-devastating-military-campaign-in-gaza
https://bricup.org.uk/article/brismes-british-government-must-pressure-israel-to-stop-destruction-of-education-system-in-gaza/
https://www.newarab.com/opinion/israel-bombed-all-universities-gaza-academic-boycott-now
https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-israel-killing-academics-educide-campaigners-say