MORE than 180 academics have signed a letter condemning the impact ongoing Israeli attacks in Gaza are having on students and researchers.

Scholars from a range of disciplines and institutions, with the vast majority being fellows of the British Academy, put their names to a statement which said the destruction of higher education institutions in Gaza was a “clear violation of humanitarian and international law.”

Reports suggest that some universities have been completely demolished by the Israel Defence Forces, raising questions about why educational institutions appear to be being targeted.

The statement read: “We, the undersigned, are shocked and saddened by the immense loss of life of civilians, including researchers and academics, and the demolition of all the institutions of higher education in the Gaza Strip, which is a clear violation of humanitarian and international law.

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“We stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza and its community of students and researchers, experiencing this attack on their basic rights to survival. We send our support and friendship at this time to all academics, researchers and students in the Gaza Strip and occupied Palestinian territories for whom the safety to learn, teach and research is no longer guaranteed.

“We send our support and friendship also to those academics and researchers in Israel who have resolutely argued that Israel's future security lies in working towards a twostate solution rather than in continued violence.

“We will continue to stand up for academic freedom and acknowledge the courage that many are showing in speaking out against this military activity which is harming students and educators alike.”

According to independent non-profit organisation Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, academics are being specifically targeted and every university in the Gaza Strip has been destroyed.

In January, the Palestinian Ministry of Education reported that 4327 students had so far been killed in the conflict, with more than 7800 injured.