Belgium university to pull out of project with two Israeli institutions

Belgium university to pull out of project with two Israeli institutions
The Vrije Universiteit Brussel said it would pull out of an AI project it was working on in collaboration with Israeli institutions, amid the Gaza war.
2 min read
09 May, 2024
Students in Brussels have held protests in solidarity with Gaza [Getty]

A Belgian university said on Wednesday that it is planning to end its collaboration with two Israeli institutions on an artificial intelligence project.

It comes after a negative assessment by Vrije Universiteit Brussel's ethics commission, the Belga News Agency reported.

The university said it would start discussions with the EU Commission, which is funding the research project, in order to pull out.

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel said on Tuesday that it wished to achieve greater transparency over its work with Israeli organisations given the "unacceptable escalation of the conflict in the Middle East".

Israel has been waging a brutal war on Gaza or the past seven months, killing more than 34,900 people, mostly women and children, according to the territory's health ministry.

It has also been involved in a more limited cross-border escalation with Hezbollah and other armed groups in Lebanon.

Students at universities around the world have rallied in support of Palestinians.

Belga reported that the Vrije Universiteit Brussel students have arranged several pro-Palestinian actions in past months.

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The academic institution's rector met with students on Monday to talk about their demonstrations.

While there weren't any occupations going on at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, two other Belgian universities saw sit-ins begin on Monday and Tuesday.

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel wishes to take an in-depth look at each of its current research projects involving Israeli partners and determine one by one whether to carry on with the cooperation. There are seven projects concerned.

Campuses around the world – from the UK to the US and from Lebanon to France – have seen protests and encampments amid Israel's war on Gaza.