"Earlier this year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once again sought to erase the occupation from our consciousness by appointing a panel of three jurists which recently issued a foregone conclusion that it is not, in fact, an occupation. But committees cannot legitimize the illicit just by waving a wand. Israel’s authorities needed to go a step further, and ensure that this ‘once-occupied’ area becomes a regular part of Israeli life. That’s why the Ariel campus was originally established and that’s why it has now been upgraded to a new category of “University Center.” At present, it awaits the signature of the Minister of Defense to make it into a “University.” The only discourse that has been acceptable to the government surrounding this entire process was the “academic qualifications” of the Ariel institution. Although the media (traditional and otherwise) was critical of this process, the government continued to assert that their decisions were academic alone."
Louis Frankenthaler | Institutionalizing occupation: the ‘University’ of Ariel
While this is only one example of the nature of discourse surrounding the upgrade of the University of Ariel, it highlights the fundamental hold up with the Israeli government’s decision - in militarily asserting an academic upgrade to the university, it has essentially institutionalized the settlement enterprise in a way that will be difficult to reverse. This is a confirmation of the Knesset’s position on the Palestinian territory; its status is really in flux.
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