The Spanish Housing Ministry has disqualified Ariel University Center of Samaria from competing in the finals of the international competition between university architecture departments to design and build a self-sufficient house using solar power. The Ariel University Center reached the finals together with 20 other universities from around the world after two years of collaboration with the competition’s management and the Spanish government.
According to the Ariel University Center, the decision harms 10,000 students, including 500 Arab students, studying in the Center together with Israelis.
Sergio Vega, project manager of the Solar Decathlon, wrote to Ariel that:”The decision was made by the Spanish government based on the fact that the university is located in occupied territory in the West Bank. The Spanish government is committed to uphold the international agreement under the framework of the European Union and the United Nations regarding this geographical area.” The group, “Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine” urged cancellation of the Israeli team’s participation in the competition as part of the academic boycott against Israel led by The Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Campaign National Committee.
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is opposed to all boycotts of academic institutions. In its letter to the Chronicle of Higher Education of Oct. 12, 2009, CCS stated that such boycotts harm both international scientific collaboration and science itself.
We asked the Spanish government to reinstate Ariel University Center in the Solar Decathlon Europe competition as a finalist.