Earlier this week, Israeli defense secretary Ehud Barak approved plans for the first university in a West Bank settlement by upgrading a college currently based there. Ariel University would be situation beyond the "green line," which designates it as an illegal Jewish settlement on Palestinian territory, according to international law. Criticism from Europe is falling on deaf ears as Israel pushes ahead with the settlement plans.
According to the Guardian, the British foreign office released a statement condemning the plans for Ariel. "This decision will deepen the presence of the settlements in the Palestinian territories and will create another obstacle to peace," the statement said. However, Israel brushed off Britain's pleas to end the building, calling the the British line, "disappointing."
On Wednesday an Israeli Supreme Court judge rejected on a petition by the heads of Israel's universities to issue an injunction against the recognition of the Ariel University Center as a full-fledged university. Benjamin Netanyahu called Ariel's chancellor to congratulate him on the accreditation news, and he used controversial words which strongly implied the settlement land on which Ariel is situated to be Israeli. "After decades, the state has an additional university,” Bibi said, according to the Jerusalem Post. “It further strengthens higher education in Israel.”