Demand an end to the harassment of Palestinian scientists and academics and an immediate release of prof. Imad Barghouthi

Israeli authorities and the general public

On Thursday, July 16th 2020, Professor Barghouthi, an astrophysicist at the university of Al-Quds [1] in East Jerusalem was detained [2] by Israeli military forces at a military checkpoint outside of Anata while he was travelling from the university campus to his home in Ramallah. He is now being kept in an Israeli detention facility, prohibited from contact with his dear wife and children. No charges have been brought against him and he faces the potential threat of administrative detention. Administrative detention [3], an illegal measure used arbitrarily by the Israeli military forces to detain Palestinians without any charges or trials. If charges were to be placed against him, he would face trial by an Israeli military court, which notoriously has conviction rates of almost 100% [4].

This arrest is not an isolated case. Prof. Barghouthi, one of Palestine’s most prominent scientists, was placed under administrative detention for two months [5] in 2014, and was again detained for six months [6] in 2016. Mr. Ubai Aboudi (a US citizen), the director of the Bisan Center for Research and Development, was abducted from his home in November 2019 and placed in administrative detention. He remains in prison to this day. Both Prof. Barghouthi and Mr. Aboudi have worked with S4P on our international meetings and schools in Palestine, and their arrest and detention seriously hinders our work supporting science in Palestine.

The harassment of Palestinian Scientists is a direct violation of human rights (Universal Declaration of Human Rights [7], article 27, as well as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights [8], article 15), as well as an attack to scholars everywhere.

As concerned members of the international academic community, S4P calls for all scholars to join our plea and demand the immediate release of Prof. Barghouthi and a stop to the imprisonment of Palestinian scientists!

August 10th update: after more than three weeks in detention, we have been informed by Prof. Barghouthi's lawyer that charges have been moved against him. The charges are about his Facebook activity. We will keep updating this petition as we receive more details about the situation.

September 4th update: On September 2nd, Prof. Imad Barghouthi, who was scheduled to be released on bail within 48 hours, was placed under administrative detention until November 15th by an order of an Israeli military commander in the West Bank. The issued Israeli military order is in contradiction to the decision of the judge, unlawfully continuing the imprisonment of Prof. Barghouthi. For more details about Prof. Barghouthi's situation and the practice of administrative detention, see here.

February 24th update: Imad’s lawyer, with the support of his family, decided then to appeal to the Israeli High Court of Justice, which is instead a civil institution. Unfortunately the first hearing, scheduled for February 15th, was postponed and took place on February 22nd. Allegedly, after hearing both sides, the judge listened behind closed doors to the Israeli Secret Service and was convinced to reject the appeal. Thus Prof. Barghouthi, one of Palestine’s most prominent scientists charged solely on the bases of a few Facebook posts, will remain in prison for the foreseeable future.


Scientists for Palestine - Central Committee
Ahmed Abbes, Directeur de recherche au CNRS, Paris
Nasser Mohieddin Abukhdeir, Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering, University of Waterloo
Philip Argyres, Physics Department, University of Cincinnati
Michel Broué, Professeur émérite à l'université Paris Diderot
Noam Chomsky, Laureate Professor of Linguistics, Agnese Nelms Haury Chair, University of Arizona
Chandler Davis, Professor of Mathematics, University of Toronto
Michel Anne-Frederic DeGraff, Professor of Linguistics, MIT
John Ellis, Clerk Maxwell Professor of Theoretical Physics, King's College, London
Catherine Goldstein,
Directrice de recherche au CNRS, Paris
Michael Harris
, Professor of Mathematics, Columbia University
Nabil Iqbal,
Department of Mathematical Sciences, Durham University
Assaf Kfouri
, Professor of Mathematics, Boston University
David Klein, Professor of Mathematics, California State University Northridge
Madalena Lemos, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Durham University
David Marsh, Professor of Physics, Stockholm University
Mario Martone, Department of Physics, University of Texas at Austin
Anat Matar, Philosophy department, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Haynes Miller
, Professor of Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
David Mumford, Professor Emeritus of Applied Mathematics, Fields Medalist, Brown University
Rima Najjar, Retired Professor, AQU
Andy O'Bannon,
Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Royal Society Research Fellow, University of Southampton
Joseph Oesterlé, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, Sorbonne University
Nasser Rabbat, Aga Khan Professor, Department of Architecture, MIT
Marwan Rashed, Professeur de Philosophie, Sorbonne Université
George P. Smith, Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, 2018 Nobel Chemistry Laureate
Raid M Suleiman, Center for Astrophysics Harvard & Smithsonian
Annick Suzor-Weiner, Université de Paris-Saclay
Edriss Titi, Professor of Mathematics, University of Cambridge
Franz-Josef Ulm, Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Thomas Van Riet, Professor of Physics, Institute for Theoretical Physics, KU Leuven
Roy Wagner
, Prof. Geschichte u. Philo. d. Math.Wiss., ETH Zurich
Bernardo Zan, Department of Physics, Princeton University


[1] Department of Physics, Al-Quds University: mad-barghouthi.html.
[3]: B’tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupation Territories:
[4]: Human Rights Watch report:
[5]: Nature:
[6]: Nature:
[7]: Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
[8]: International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights:

To: Israeli authorities and the general public
From: [Your Name]

I am steadfast in my support of everyone's right to science, protected by article 27 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. I also believe that our Palestinian colleagues have no guarantee of a fair trial under Israeli military ruling.

I therefore in particular condemn the harassment of Palestinian scientists and the arrest and detention of professor Imad Barghouthi in the strongest possible terms and call on you, Israeli authorities, to immediately release prof. Imad Barghouthi from military prison.