For the Immediate Release of Mr. Ubai Aboudi

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation; Israeli authorities; and the general public

U.S. citizen Mr. Ubai Aboudi, one of Scientists for Palestine’s (S4P) closest partners and director of the Ramallah-based Bisan Center for Research and Development, was brutally abducted by the Israeli army at 3 a.m. in the morning of Wednesday, November 13th, 2019. Mr. Aboudi was forcefully taken from his home by 12 Israeli soldiers while his terrified children and wife were also at home. Since then Mr. Aboudi has been detained without charges and on Monday, November 18th, 2019, an Israeli tribunal placed Mr. Aboudi under administrative detention for 4 months. S4P and the undersigned supporters condemn this brutal action in the strongest possible terms and call for Mr. Aboudi’s immediate release from military prison. We also invite all scholars concerned about human rights and the enforcement of the universal right to education to also take immediate action and support our call. Mr. Aboudi and his family

The Bisan center is a key player in Palestinian civil society and has worked tirelessly, under the remarkable leadership of Mr. Aboudi, to support Palestinian rights to education. In particular, Bisan has helped prepare S4P’s Third International Meeting for Science in Palestine, which will be held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mr. Aboudi has been absolutely instrumental in initiating discussions on how to strengthen Palestinian science and has made future plans to help organize upcoming S4P scientific workshops in Palestine.

The practice of administrative detention (AD) has been used by the Israeli government to abuse and detain Palestinians since 1948, without ever letting them see evidence and without pressing charges - sometimes for years at a time - in direct contravention of international law. Human rights organizations have long condemned Israeli use of AD against Palestinians. The Geneva conventions prohibit occupying powers from using AD against an occupied population and AD as used by Israel is in further and direct violation of i) articles 49 and 67 of the 4th Geneva Convention ii) of Article 9 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights iii) Article 9 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) iv) as well as a slew of international and human rights laws and principles.

An organization like S4P, which is committed to building scientific collaborations and strengthening those that already exist, should not be put in the position of writing statements of this kind. However, Mr. Aboudi’s brutal abduction is a direct attack to anyone attempting to help elevate Palestinian science and education. We also fear that it is particularly directed towards those with strong relations with international organizations, such as S4P, which could help implement change in Palestine.


Scientists for Palestine - Central Committee.
Ahmed Abbes, Directeur de recherche au CNRS, Paris.
Ofer Aharony, Samuel Sebba Professorial Chair of Pure and Applied Physics, Weizmann Institute, Israel.
Jonathan Beckwith
, Professor Emeritus, Harvard Medical School, Boston Massachusetts.
Noam Chomsky, Laureate Professor of Linguistics, Agnese Nelms Haury Chair, The University of Arizona.
Chandler Davis, Professor of Mathematics, University of Toronto.
Ivar Ekeland, FRSC, Former President, University of Paris-Dauphine, Former Director, Pacific Institute of Mathematical Sciences.
John Ellis, Clerk Maxwell Professor of Theoretical Physics, King's College, London.
Michael Harris, Professor of Mathematics, Columbia University.
Assaf Kfouri, Professor of Mathematics, Boston University.
Jean-Marc Lévy-Leblond, Professeur émérite de l'université de Nice.
Anat Matar, Philosophy department, Tel Aviv University, Israel.
Haynes Miller, Professor of Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Joseph Oesterlé, emeritus professor at Sorbonne University, Paris.
Sana Odeh, Clinical Professor of Computer Science, New York University.
Jonathan Rosenhead, Professor Emeritus of Operational Research, London School of Economics.
George P. Smith, Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, 2018 Nobel Chemistry Laureate.
Sylvain Sorin, Combinatoire et Optimisation, Institut de Mathématiques de Jussieu-PRG CNRS UMR 7586.
Raid M Suleiman, Center for Astrophysics Harvard & Smithsonian.
Franz-Josef Ulm, Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

To: Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation; Israeli authorities; and the general public
From: [Your Name]

We appeal in particular to you, as European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, for a particular reason: Israel has access to the European Union’s research and innovation programs, including ’Horizon 2020’, on the same basis as member states of the European Union. It has indeed just obtained 34 grants from the European Research Council, placing it fifth among all eligible countries.

Access to this programs is subject to certain very precise conditions concerning respect for fundamental rights. Article 2 of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Israel stipulates that "Relations between the Parties, as well as all the provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement."

The arbitrary detention of Mr. Ubai Aboudi is a serious new violation by Israel of both the spirit and the letter of the Agreement. We therefore call upon the European Union to demand that Israel release Mr. Ubai Aboudi. We call for this as concerned scholars who believe in the political and human values on which the European Union is founded and in the unmatched potential of research and science in uniting scholars across borders.