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: November 15, 2023

Attack Types: Other

Institution(s):Al Quds Open University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Palestine (OPT)

New or Ongoing:New Incident

Around November 15, 2023, Israeli forces bombed the Gaza branch of Al-Quds Open University, destroying its building.

On November 19, the university issued a statement condemning the destruction and noting that Israeli forces had previously turned the university into military barracks.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about attacks on universities and allegations of military occupation or use of university facilities. 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.

Sources:
https://www.al-fanarmedia.org/2023/12/554-palestinian-university-students-killed-or-detained-in-44-days/
https://www.qou.edu/en/viewCmsContentDtlEn.do?contentId=82184
https://mesana.org/advocacy/committee-on-academic-freedom/2024/01/25/letter-condemning-the-devastating-military-campaign-in-gaza
https://www.instagram.com/timesofgaza/p/Czq4eVeIza2/