9 May 2024
Demands to the board of Eindhoven University of Technology regarding the ongoing genocide and decades of occupation of Palestine

To the Executive Board of Eindhoven University of Technology,

We, as students and employees of Eindhoven University of technology (TU/e), are writing to express our deep concern and disapproval of the university’s indifference and silence in the face of the ongoing genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza. Our concern extends not only to the ongoing genocide, but also to the 75-year history of brutal settler colonial and military occupation of Palestine, as well as the current collective punishment imposed on the civilian population across all Palestinian land in the form of violent arrests, hate crimes, and torture by the Israeli military and settlers.

On January 26th 2024, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Israel's brutal attack on the Palestinian people in Gaza, involving unprecedented levels of indiscriminate violence on civilians, plausibly constitutes genocide under the Genocide Convention [1]. This ruling requires all the signatory states of the genocide convention, including the Netherlands, to prevent the crime of genocide. Despite this ruling, the genocidal war on Palestinians has continued, ignoring the ICJ ruling, as well as two resolutions by United Nations General Assembly (2728) [2] and United Nations Security Council (ES-10/22) [3]. These transgressions, among a great number of others recorded over the years, have also been corroborated and reported by different eminent international human rights organisations, the United Nations Human Rights Council [4], and Palestinians on the ground. Decades worth of reports on ethnic cleansing, racial discrimination, on the strictly implemented apartheid system, the years-long bombardment and siege of the Gaza Strip, and the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people, have long been ignored by institutions and states that claim to uphold human rights.

In the past eight months, the entire academic landscape in Gaza has been brutally targeted. All the universities in Gaza have been completely destroyed by the IDF [5]. The Israeli army has killed hundreds of teachers, thousands of students and at least 94 university professors [6] including professor Sufyan Tayeh [7], a leading physicist, applied mathematician and President of Islamic University of Gaza, and Refaat Alareer [8], a professor in comparative literature and an acclaimed poet. Based on an UN statement [9] over 625,000 students and 22,564 teachers have been deprived of education and a safe place, and thousands of education personnel have been killed.

Academic staff, scholars and students in the West-Bank and the rest of Palestine are regularly arrested, detained without charge, or harassed [10] by Israeli forces. For instance, Professor Imad Barghouti, a prominent astrophysicist at Al-Quds University, was arrested on 23 October 2023 and has been detained until 22 April 2024, without any charge. The university of Birzeit, West Bank Palestine, has been raided over 20 times [11] between 2002 and September 2023, and was most recently targeted on 8 November 2023 [12]. At least 74 Palestinian students from 25 different Israeli institutions have been suspended [13] for social media posts expressing solidarity with Gaza.

Two years ago, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the TU/e took swift and commendable actions [14] to condemn the invasion, express solidarity with Ukraine, support affected students, and contribute to humanitarian efforts. The university also announced the suspension of all collaborations with Russian institutes as a means of pressuring the Russian government to stop the invasion. The severity of the situation, as we witness in horror the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe inflicted on the civilian population in Gaza, demands similar attention and action on part of the TU/e. This is important, especially at a time when the Netherlands is actively part of this conflict by supplying military aid and extending political support to Israel, despite the compelling evidence of violations of many international laws being perpetrated. Since February, the Dutch government has been bypassing the Dutch Court of Appeals in The Hague that ordered the Dutch State to block the export of F-35 parts from the Netherlands to Israel.

Eindhoven University of Technology holds several institutional and financial ties with Israeli Universities, institutes and companies via research partnerships in specific projects and via academic collaborations such as summer schools and exchange programs. These connections, directly or indirectly, facilitate the military occupation of Palestine and enable the ongoing genocide. They cover different areas like AI technologies and quantum computing that can be used for security and defence purposes in Israel.

In the recent past, the TU/e has been working with Israeli partners on projects with direct military applications. Via the EuroTech Universities Alliance, the TU/e is also cooperating with Israeli universities. A summary of these ties is included in the Appendix below.

For the TU/e as an academic institute, it is both an ethical imperative and a social responsibility, particularly in consideration of the stance of international judicial institutions like the ICJ, to actively prevent any form of complicity in occupation and genocide. Accordingly, we issue the following urgent call to action to the executive board of Eindhoven University of Technology:

• Publicly condemn and call for an end to the genocide that is being perpetrated by Israel in Gaza, Palestine.

• Disclose a comprehensive list of current institutional and financial ties with Israeli institutions. This is in accordance with the Open Government Act (Woo) [15], so as to disclose the extent in which the TU/e is indirectly facilitating the current genocide and the occupation of Palestine.

• Cut all ties with Israeli institutions that are complicit in genocide, apartheid and occupation of Palestine. And endorse boycotts on Israel following the guidelines of the movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions [16].

• Immediately issue a public statement condemning the Israeli onslaught of Palestinian universities, schools and other institutions of higher education and the killing of academics, teachers and students; and express unequivocal solidarity with universities and teachers in Gaza and Palestine as a whole.

• Create emergency fellowships for researchers, educators and students from Gaza and other parts of Palestine who are interested in coming to work or study in the Netherlands.

• Build partnerships with Palestinian universities and academics and facilitate educational spaces within the TU/e that actively promote and facilitate informed analysis of the ongoing events and the history of Palestine.

• Issue a statement directed to ABP and call for transparency and divestment from companies directly and indirectly complicit in genocide, apartheid and occupation of Palestine [17].

Appendix: Summary of ties between the TU/e and Israel

The TU/e holds important institutional and financial ties with the Israeli occupation that unveil a disconcerting complicity. These ties are in the form of:

1- research partnerships, in particular partnerships with Israeli universities and companies that work on military projects, and;

2- academic collaborations like symposiums, summer schools and exchange programs.

Both forms will be detailed below.

(1a) The TU/e participates in military projects [18, 19] via Horizon Europe programs in direct partnership with Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. Technion is known for the development of the D9 remote-controlled bulldozer, which is used in the destruction of Palestinian homes [20], and of acoustic systems for the suppression of demonstrations using a sonic blaster that causes serious, irreversible hearing damage [21, 22]. Technion is also known for a long history of collaboration with Elbit systems, Israel’s largest arms and security company. Elbit is supplying electronic detection devices used in the Israeli Separation Wall in the West Bank, and it is responsible for 85% of the Israeli military's land-based equipment, as well as 85% of its drones [23, 24].

(1b) The TU/e is collaborating with the Israeli company Quantum Machines via the EuRyQa project [25]. Development of the quantum computer is expected to revolutionise security and defence areas, among others [26]. Quantum Machines is responsible for building the first national Israeli quantum computer, and has Elbit representatives in the advisory board [27].

(1c) The long standing and on-going participation of the TU/e [28, 29] in graphene projects with Technion and the company Mellanox (NVIDIA Yokneam, Israel) bares serious concerns about the implementation in military purposes. Graphene, initially developed by the University of Manchester in collaboration with Israeli companies and universities, [30] can enhance the charge capacity of lithium batteries used in drones.

(1d) Another possible step towards complicity of the TU/e with the atrocities that Israel is committing in Gaza and the West Bank, is the ongoing research project with Bar Ilan University on the development of “Thruthworthy” AI [31]. Bar-Ilan University participates in joint research with the Israeli army, specifically in developing artificial intelligence for unmanned combat vehicles [32].

(2a) The TU/e participates in the exchange program Eurotech that includes Israeli universities, and the TU/e funds it with extra yearly training and exchange activities [33].

(2b) The Eurotech summer school ’Harmonizing Intelligence: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Enhancing Human-AI Collaboration’ will feature speakers from Technion and Ben Gurion University (8th - 11th July 2024 at TU/e) [34]. Ben-Gurion University is playing a central role in facilitating Israel state policies that deprive and deny education to the region’s Bedouin Palestinian population in Naqab region [35].

(2c) As a part of the Eurotech program, a new PhD position ‘The Fundamental Limits of DNA Data Storage’ will have a shared supervision between the TU/e and Technion [36].

The above is but a selection of the more relevant collaborations. Apart from the research partnerships mentioned above, there are also ties in fields like electronics, photonics, intelligence in automobiles, biosensing, semiconductors, connectivity & sustainability, and big data. The TU/e has various cooperations with Technion, Ben Gurion University, Bar Ilan University, the Weizmann Institute of Science, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and with over a dozen Israeli companies [37].

References:

The complete list of references is found in this document:

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  1. Eda Veznehar Demir, Student, TU Eindhoven, Eindhoven
  2. Milan Raczewski, Noord-Brabant, Students4Palestine, ‘s-Hertogenbosch
  3. Saskia Blom, PhD, Lecturer, Fontys Applied Physics, Eindhoven
  4. Siavash Maraghechi, Researcher, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven
  5. C., Working in healthcare, -, Helmond
  6. Kevin Van Veldhoven, Student, Kerkdriel
  7. Tala Sabha, TU/e student, Eindhoven students 4 palestine, Eindhoven
  8. Renske Eisink, Student, Eindhoven
  9. Amjad Azimane, Student, Tue, Eindhoven
  10. Faries Azmani, Student, SA Salaam, Etten-Leur
  11. I, Student, Helmond
  12. Salah-din Mrait, Student, SA Salaam, Eindhoven
  13. Tiffany He, Student, TU Eindhoven
  14. Minoo Kasraei, student, TU/e, Eindhoven, Noord-Brabant
  15. Sarah Awad, Student, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven
  16. Maya Sabha, TU/estudent, Eindhoven students 4 palestine, Helmond
  17. Mourad, Student, TU/e, Eindhoven
  18. Abdi Fatha Mohamud, Student TU, Eindhoven
  19. Romana Alihoesen, Student, Maastricht university, Eindhoven
  20. Nasra, Eindhoven
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  4. Jasper, Staff, TU/e
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  12. Amir H Babakhani, Researcher, TU/e, Eindhoven
  13. Amal Mansoor, PhD candidate Biomedical Engineering, Eindhoven, Eindhoven
  14. Zaib Shahid, Student, Politecnico di Torino, Torino
  15. Karim Ashraf, Teaching & Research Assistant, AUC, Cairo
  16. Klaas van der Sterren, Consultant, Private, De Bilt
  17. Youssra, Consultant, Eindhoven
  18. Radu, Student, TU/e, Eindhoven
  19. Hadyah Alali, Summa College, Helmond
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