Statement on Dr Refaat Alareer and the higher education sector in the Gaza Strip

SOAS University of London is devastated to hear that former SOAS student Dr Refaat Alareer, who taught English literature at the Islamic University in Gaza, has been killed by an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip. 

In 2007, Refaat completed a SOAS module in Arabic Poetry and Criticism with the highest mark in his group. We send our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

The SOAS community is horrified by the near total destruction of the higher educational sector in the Gaza Strip. It is reported that the al-Azhar University, the North Gaza and Tubas branches of Al-Quds Open University, and the Islamic University, to name a few, have been completely or partially destroyed. Hundreds of university staff and students have been killed and tens of thousands of university students are unable to access education. 

Everyone in Israel and Palestine has a right to access education in security, without fear. As a university in the UK, SOAS calls for an immediate end to attacks on university students, staff and buildings. We echo the UN and the many voices from around the world who are calling for an immediate ceasefire to prevent any further loss of civilian life.