West Bank university wins victory over BDS
The Spanish government recently paid 430,000 shekels (100,000 dollars) in compensation to an Israeli university in the West Bank for an incident in which 15 architecture students were barred from an international competition sponsored by the Spanish Housing Ministry because they came "from the occupied territories".
Ariel University had been involved in a complicated legal struggle after a team it sent to Spain in 2009 advanced to become one of 21 finalists in a competition for designing an environmentally-friendly home, Israeli news website Ynet reported.
The team's project was well received and Spain's housing minister came to see the model house for herself, according to the report.
However, after heavy lobbying by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to disqualify the Israeli team because they came from West Bank settlements, the Ariel University was withdrawn from the competition.
The university launched a legal battle, and demanded that Spain's Housing Ministry cancel the decision to kick out the Ariel delegation from the competition, Ynet reported. The university also demanded that the housing ministry pay €230,000 in compensation.
While the Spanish Housing Ministry sought to reject the Israeli suit outright, the country's National Court decided in 2013 to deny the Housing Ministry's request.
In March 2014, it said in an official statement that "Ariel University was treated unequally in comparison with other contest participants, allegedly because of the European Union's position regarding the 'occupied territories' and without clarifying how the 'occupied territories' might affect the competition. Therefore, the decision to disqualify Ariel University has no legal basis and is unjustified. It is a violation of the fundamental right to equality included in Article 14 of the constitution, as the decision to disqualify the university contradicts Ariel University's right to equality in the competition. The faulty decision-making regarding disqualifying Ariel University from the competition makes the decision null and void."
Ariel University decided to accept the Spanish Housing Ministry's proposal for compensation, in what is has been considered in Israel a victory over the BDS movement.
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