Ariel University is an Israeli academic institution located in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian territory. These Israeli settlements constitute a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Authoritative Palestinian higher education bodies are calling for non-recognition of and non-collaboration with Ariel University due to its direct complicity in Israel’s war crime of settlements and its denial of basic human rights to Palestinians, including the right to education and academic freedom.
As part of the Palestinian call for non-recognition, academic journals are urged not to publish material that falsely indicates Ariel University as located in Israel, including in author affiliations, in order to avoid providing respectable international channels to be used to conceal grave violations of international humanitarian law and Palestinian basic human rights.
This guide aims to assist journal editorial boards in developing policies to avoid unintentionally accepting as lawful and normalising Israel’s illegal settlements and annexation of Palestinian territory. This is consistent with the international consensus that the Israeli settlements (including Ariel) are illegal and not a part of Israel. Normalisation of illegality and injustice is at its most effective where there is unawareness that it is occurring.
Suggestions for establishing a policy
Make it part of a broader policy: Consider instituting, for example, a land acknowledgement policy to recognise indigenous owners of occupied or colonised land. As part of this, require authors to acknowledge institutions built on, or research conducted on, land that has been appropriated by an occupying power in contravention of international law. (See examples below)
Research your publisher’s existing policies: Many publishers have “neutrality statements” on territorial claims. Some publishers allow journals the autonomy to establish their own policies, superseding those of the publisher. (See more below)
If your publisher does not allow for policies that would prevent normalisation of illegal settlement institutions such as Ariel University, consider adding a disclaimer on published submissions where affiliations deviate from the facts. For example: “In accordance with international law and resolutions of the UN Security Council , [journal name] does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) and wishes to specify that Ariel University is located in an illegal Israeli settlement in the OPT and not in Israel.”
Academic Freedom: Policies should, of course, respect academic freedom. Palestinian higher education bodies are calling for non-recognition of the university as an institution. Ariel University faculty members should be free to submit and publish where they wish, provided they correctly indicate their affiliation with the Israeli academic institution located in the Ariel settlement in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Below are examples of journals and academic societies that have adopted general policy statements.
(1) The British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies adopted a “Territorial or Land Acknowledgement” policy, which states that
Where an institution is built on land that has been appropriated by an occupying power in contravention of international law, that this must be explicitly acknowledged. In the acknowledgements, the author is requested to provide the appropriate legal instrument/resolution designating the status of occupied land in international law.
(2) The Journal of Occupational Science in its Policy on Territorial or Land Acknowledgement states that
where ownership of land is contested under international law, that is to be explicitly acknowledged.
For Palestine it recommends the address
Occupied Palestinian Territories (United Nations designation).
(3) A detailed policy of this kind has been adopted for its journals by the American Physical Society. On Ariel University affiliations, its latest statement (May 2019) instructs APS journals as follows
Do not use . . . Ariel University, Ariel, Israel.
(1) and (2) above have benefited from the policy of Taylor & Francis to allow journals autonomy to institute editorial policies.
Most journals and publishing houses aspire to neutrality on territorial issues, and some explicitly state this via neutrality statements and disclaimers. We are NOT asking them to abandon what they regard as neutrality (i.e. not siding with one side or the other). On the contrary, we are asking them to enforce it. Academic editors should never publish what they know to be untrue, especially when to do so does assist one side against the other.
It is simply untrue that Ariel is part of Israel. That academic journals should not purvey falsehoods is a minimal request.
Pitfalls To Avoid
Any designation of Ariel University should, while stating its location in the occupied Palestinian territory, nevertheless differentiate its status from that of legitimate Palestinian institutions.
For example, designating the illegal settlement institution as “Ariel University, Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory” does not differentiate from the legitimate Palestinian institution “Birzeit University, Birzeit, Occupied Palestinian Territory.” This is best done by acknowledgement that Ariel is an illegal Israeli settlement.
In addition, when using or adapting Land Acknowledgement policies to cover Israeli institutions in illegal settlements, it is important to consider that Palestinians are simultaneously an Indigenous people and a population under military occupation. Care should be given to place Palestinians within Indigenous peoples, not separately, while recognizing the peculiarities of military occupation.
Complicity in normalising Israel’s cruel and illegal occupation of Palestinian land is not confined to perpetrating falsehood in academic journals. Other ways in which academic societies, unions and members of the academic community can take action to avoid legitimising Ariel University and Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise and military occupation can be found at noarielties.org.