Broadcasting Authority’s Appeal Committee to Determine Whether the Right of Palestinians to Access Higher Education is “Politically Controversial”

· The committee will today hear an appeal submitted by Gisha against a decision to disqualify radio broadcasts by Yehonatan Gefen, Alona Kimhi and Yossi Sarid stating that Gaza students should be allowed to travel abroad to pursue their studies.

· Meanwhile, Gisha this morning petitioned the High Court of Justice on behalf of an Architectural Preservation student from Gaza whom the army has prevented from traveling to Germany to pursue a Master’s degree.

Thu., September 11, 2008 –  Today at 3:30 pm, the Israel Broadcast Authority will hold a hearing in the appeal submitted by the Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement against the Broadcasting Authority’s Director-General’s decision to disqualify radio broadcasts stating that students from Gaza should be allowed to travel abroad to foreign universities.

The hearing by the committee, headed by Israel Broadcasting Authority Chairman Moshe Gavish, will be held at the IBA’s offices at 2 Leonardo da Vinci St., Tel Aviv.

The radio broadcasts featuring Yehonatan Gefen, Alona Kimhi and Yossi Sarid were disqualified by Broadcasting Authority Director-General Motti Shklar, who claimed that “the issue is politically and ideologically controversial.” Gisha’s legal counsel Prof. Kenneth Mann, who is representing Gisha before the Broadcasting Authority, said this morning that "there is and can be no ideological dispute that human beings have a right to study and that higher education is important. To accept the director-general’s position and the disqualification of the broadcasts is to negate the right of Palestinian students to study.”

Meanwhile, Gisha this morning petitioned the High Court of Justice on behalf of Azhar Al-Boraey, one of the hundreds of students that Israel’s closure policies have prevented from leaving the Gaza Strip.

Azhar, who hopes to study for a Master’s degree in Architectural Preservation Studies, last year lost her place and scholarship at a Chinese university because of the closure of Gaza’s borders. This year, Azhar was accepted into a program in Germany, but the army has refused to allow her to leave Gaza. This is due to sweeping policies imposed by the Israeli government limiting travel to and from the Gaza Strip, under which students from Gaza are prevented from traveling abroad to pursue their studies.

The petition, written by Gisha attorney Yadin Ilam, notes that Israel’s security forces “control the Gaza Strip’s borders – its air, sea and land borders – and they can and are obligated to allow the petitioner to travel to study."

The petition further noted that “the right to access to education is a basic human right, recognized and protected under Israeli law and international law.”

The wording of the disqualified advertisement:

"Hello, this is Yossi Sarid.
The right to education is a fundamental right. No country in the world may deny this right; Israel also may not deny this right. However, the State of Israel is preventing hundreds of Palestinians from leaving Gaza for studies abroad. In so doing, the government is preventing these young people from becoming all they can and have the right to be. We all need to learn; Gaza students included."