A petition signed by 168 academics and researchers in Italy calls for the suspension of all agreements with Israeli universities, news site Ynet reported on Friday. The petition, signed by academics from seven institutions, singles out Israel's Institute for Technology (Technion) for particular attention, claiming that the university is involved in military research and the development of weapons used by the Israeli military to "repress the Palestinian people."
The petition continues: "We, the undersigned scholars and researchers at Italian universities are deeply troubled by the collaboration between the Israel Institute of Technology “Technion” and Italian universities.
"Israeli universities collaborate on military research and development of weapons used by the Israeli army against the Palestinian population, providing undeniable support to the military occupation and colonization of Palestine," Ynet reports.
"Technion is involved more than any other university in the Israeli military-industrial complex. The Institute carries out research in a wide range of technologies and weapons used to oppress and attack Palestinians."
The petitioners also say that a project at the Technion contributed to the development of the Caterpillar D9 bulldozer "used by the Israeli army to demolish Palestinian homes and the implementation of a method for detecting underground tunnels, developed specifically to maintain Israel’s siege on the Gaza Strip.
"Technion develops joint research programs and collaborates with the Israeli army and the main weapons manufacturing companies in Israel, including Elbit Systems," the petition continues.
"Among the largest private weapons producers, Elbit Systems manufactures the drones used by the Israeli army to fire on civilians in Lebanon in 2006 and in Gaza in 2008-2009 and in 2014 and provides surveillance equipment for Israel’s Apartheid Wall."
In December, more than 200 scholars in South African pledged their support for an academic boycott of Israel.
In November, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) passed a vote which took it a stage closer to a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.A final ballot is due to take place in the coming months.
In October, 343 academics from 72 British institutions said they would boycott contact with Israeli universities over the state's "intolerable human rights violations" towards Palestinians, but still work with Israeli colleagues on an individual basis.