Letter: From Exeter to no man's land

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Sir: We write as members of this university to express our disgust and indignation at the behaviour of the Israeli government in expelling more than 400 Palestinians without even the pretence of individual legal process. We do so with particular concern because one of those snatched from his home in this arbitrary and cruel way is a former student who obtained his doctorate at Exeter before returning to his home in the occupied Gaza Strip. His case has a particular poignancy because his wife, according to Robert Fisk's article (21 December), was on the point of bearing him a child.

It is hard to know whether to be more shocked by the illegal character of the Israeli action or by its inhumanity. Both have been emphatically asserted by a variety of international organisations including the United Nations Security Council, the European Community, the International Red Cross - and by the brave minority of Israeli civil rights activists who have avoided the hysteria of their fellow countrymen. In particular, the part of the Israeli legal establishment in allowing such an obvious breach of international law reflects further discredit on the reputation of Israel, its government and its institutions.

Prime Minister Rabin and his colleagues have defied world opinion before and will do so again - unless they see there is a penalty for doing so.

We call upon all citizens of Britain who care about human rights, freedom of opinion and especially academic freedom, to exert pressure in any way they can to persuade our own government to see that Israel's action does not go unpunished.

Yours sincerely,

MICHAEL ADAMS, Research Fellow; EMMA MURPHY, Research Associate; T. C. NIBLOCK, Director, Middle East Politics; ANTHONY PARSONS Research Fellow; H. G. BALFOUR-PAUL, Research Fellow; PAUL AUCHTERLONIE, Arabic Librarian; ROGER WEBSTER, Research Fellow; BRIAN PRIDHAM, director of Centre for Arab Gulf Studies Department of Politics

University of Exeter


21 December