PA withdraws recognition of al-Aksa University in light of struggle with Hamas

The Palestinian Authority (PA) Education Ministry announced on Tuesday that it revoked its recognition of al-Aksa University, a PA-funded public university in Gaza City.

August 10, 2016 20:41
2 minute read.
hamdallah Haniyeh

Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (R) waves as he hosts PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah at his house in Gaza City October 9, 2014.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Palestinian Authority Education Ministry announced on Tuesday that it has revoked its accreditation of al-Aksa University, a PA-funded public university in Gaza City.

In light of its decision, the ministry advised all students not to register at al-Aksa and added that it will not recognize any diplomas issued from it.

“The Education Ministry recommends that all students registering at al-Aksa University in the Gaza Strip register at other universities,” a ministry statement said.

“The ministry will no longer recognize diplomas issued from the university.”

The announcement comes in the midst of a dispute between the Hamas-controlled offices of the Education Ministry in Gaza and the PA Education Ministry in Ramallah. The former recently announced that it had transferred two professors to other colleges in the Gaza Strip after they made clear violations of university protocol.

Speaking to Dunia al-Watan, a Palestinian news site, Kamal Thabet, the director-general of the Hamas-run ministry in Gaza said, “The professors were transferred out of al-Aksa University for the general welfare of the public following clear violations of [university protocol].”

Nonetheless, the PA Education Ministry in Ramallah rejected Thabet’s statement, saying the Hamas-controlled offices of the Education Ministry in Gaza clearly overstepped their authority and broke the law.

The deputy director-general of the PA Education Ministry, Anwar Zekariya, said, “[The Education Ministry in Gaza] not only [illegally] transferred two professors to other colleges, but also transferred teachers from local schools to al-Aksa University without any legal basis or authorization from the General Employees Bureau in Ramallah.”

Zekariya added that the PA Education Ministry does not accept professors whose qualifications are unknown. “How are school instructors, whose qualifications are unknown, being transferred to teach at the university [level]?” he asked, arguing that the PA Education Ministry had to withdraw its recognition of the university.

The PA ministry and the Hamas-controlled offices of the Education Ministry in Gaza have been fighting for control of al-Aksa University since June 2015, when university president Ali Abu Zuhri resigned.

The PA Education Ministry appointed Ali Zeidan Abu Zuhri as acting president, but the Hamas-controlled Education Ministry in Gaza rejected the appointment, instead appointing Muhammad Radwan as a replacement without permission from the PA authorities in Ramallah.

Months later, the PA ministry attempted to pressure the Hamas-controlled offices of Education Ministry to reverse its decision by cutting the salaries of 11 professors believed to be affiliated with Hamas.

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