University of Antwerp and ULB pause cooperation agreements with Israeli partners

The University of Antwerp and the Université Libre de Bruxelles will suspend agreements and institutional research projects with Israeli universities, they announced on Tuesday. For weeks, students in Belgium have been occupying university buildings to call for a boycott of Israeli partner institutions. 

UAntwerp rector Herman Van Goethem told students who have been occupying parts of the city campus for weeks that collaborations will be put on hold. These often involve institutional collaborations with the military authorities, he said. Therefore, general cooperation agreements will be temporarily suspended.

All ongoing research projects will be completed but may be subject to additional review by the relevant ethics committee. Participation in new projects is possible only after a review by the committee.

At ULB, too, it was decided to suspend the agreements and institutional research projects with Israeli universities until the university administrations concerned clearly engage with the demands of the International Court of Justice in its request of 24 May to halt its offensive in Rafah.

The university also announced that it would avoid entering into agreements with Palestinian universities until the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas.

Students have been occupying university buildings across Belgium, including Antwerp and Brussels, for weeks, demanding a clear stance from their university on the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip. UAntwerp and ULB have already pushed for more transparency on possible ties with Israeli institutions to meet students' demands. UAntwerp published a list of all collaborations with Israeli universities and organisations, and ULB thoroughly screened all partnerships and agreements with Israeli universities.


Students occupy a building on the Solbosch campus of the Université libre de Bruxelles © BELGA PHOTO LOU LAMPAERT

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