Below is a letter sent 29 July on behalf of the Ariel University Non-Recognition Campaign to the editors of the scientific journal Molecules

Dear Molecules editors,

We are writing on behalf of the campaign led by international scholars and guided by an esteemed Advisory Board in support of the call from authoritative Palestinian higher education bodies for non-recognition of and non-collaboration with the Israeli settler institution, Ariel University, whose very presence on occupied Palestinian territory is in violation of international law.

We note with grave concern that the guest editor of the Molecules Special Issue on “Advances in Organic Fluorophores: Design, Synthesis, andApplications” is a professor at Ariel University, and that her affiliation is listed by the journal as “Ariel University, 65 Ramat HaGolan Street, Ariel, Israel.”

Ariel University was established in the illegal Israeli settlement of the same name located deep within the occupied Palestinian territory. The position of the international community on Israeli settlements is clear. They are illegal under international law and certainly not part of Israel.

In 2016, the United Nations Security Council reconfirmed the illegality of Israel’s settlement enterprise, stating it “has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.” The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court considers such settlement of occupied territory a war crime.

Ariel University is an illegal institution that is deeply and directly complicit in Israel’s system of oppression that has denied Palestinians their basic rights guaranteed by international law, including the right to education and academic freedom.

As renowned South African international law scholar John Dugard has stated in support of the campaign, Ariel University is “an institutional creature of a system of apartheid” that was “designed to legitimize and bolster an illegal occupation.”

At a time when the Israeli government is planning to formalize its de facto annexation of large swaths of the Palestinian territory it has held under military occupation for decades, including the illegal settlement of Ariel, we are deeply disturbed by the choice of someone from an illegal institution as a guest editor of a Molecules Special Issue.

Regardless of intentions, this choice puts Molecules as well as Special Issue contributors in the unfortunate position of legitimizing a war crime.

It seems to us reasonable to insist that, at the very least, the professor’s affiliation should correctly and factually be indicated as “Ariel University, illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory” in all related material.

In addition, all potential contributors should be explicitly made aware of Ariel University’s status as an illegal institution and of its role in perpetuating a war crime, given that the editor, not merely a contributor, is from that institution. We are confident that a considerable number of them would be equally disturbed by this choice.

As a number of esteemed scientists stated in a letter to The Guardian, science should not be used “to normalise the occupation of the Palestinian territories.”