Open letter to the Executive Board: cut ties with Israel

| Rense Kuipers

A group of UT students and staff sent an open letter to the Executive Board on Monday morning. The demand of action group Enschede Students for Palestine: the UT must 'stop cooperating with companies and institutions that facilitate the incomprehensible violence in the Gaza Strip'.

A member of Enschede Students for Palestine in front of the Vleugel building

The action group linked their action to the national 'walk-out'; at several universities in the Netherlands, students and staff left their university buildings in protest against the war in Gaza and the police action at the pro-Palestine demonstrations last week.

Severing ties

In their open letter, the students and staff call on the Executive Board, among other things, to disclose and sever all ties with Israeli institutions and companies. According to the action group, this also applies to other types of collaborations that 'facilitate the extreme violence in the Gaza Strip'. For example, the accusing finger of the activists points at the defence company Thales, with which the UT has been working closely for years.

In addition to demanding the disclosure and severance of ties, the activist group wants both financial and emotional support for Palestinian UT students and staff. And that the UT will support students, academics and institutions in Palestine, for example through collaborations with Palestinian academic institutions.

'Invitation to dialogue'

The action group sees the open letter as an 'invitation to dialogue' with the Executive Board and has given the board until 17 May to respond. The letter has also been published publicly and, at the time of writing, has been signed by several dozen students, staff, and alumni.

The Executive Board has received the letter and will study it, responds Executive Board spokesperson Laurens van der Velde.

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