The Hebrew University of Jerusalem on Sunday distanced itself from claims made by a professor in its employ that Israel is experimenting on Palestinian children with new weapons systems, in order to help boost its international weapons sales.
Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, a professor of social work and law at the university, has given a number of talks recently, citing accounts of East Jerusalem children reporting being used as guinea pigs for weapons.
“The views expressed by Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian don’t represent or express in any way the views of the Hebrew University or the university administration, but are her personal opinion that reflect only her views,” the university said in a statement Sunday.
The clarification came in the wake of a media report on a talk that Shalhoub-Kevorkian gave Tuesday at Columbia University in New York City.
In a recording from the event carried by Army Radio, she can be heard saying that “Palestinian spaces are laboratories for the Israeli security industry, [they] are using them as showcases.”
She argued that Israel kept the Palestinians under an oppressive regime in a bid to fuel the development and sale of security technologies.
“When the prime minister of Chad was in Israel, he was brought to Bab al-Amud [the Damascus Gate to the Old City of Jerusalem] to see how they’re really controlling the people and the area,” she said.
Chadian President Idriss Deby — not prime minister — visited Israel in November last year, as a prelude to the restoration of full diplomatic ties between the two countries in January 2019. There is wide speculation that Chad is interested in buying Israeli arms.
There is no official record of Deby being taken to the area of Damascus Gate or the Old City. The heavily policed Damascus Gate area has been the scene of multiple terror attacks on Israelis, as well as Palestinian protests.
“They check what bombs to use,” Shalhoub-Kevorkian quoted a child named Mohammed saying, whether “gas bombs or stink bombs, whether to put on our heads in plastic bags or cloth bags, whether to hit us with their rifles or kick us with boots.”
She quoted another child, named Alaa, as saying “In the news, you can find a new camera that can film us at night, a new voice recorder or new rifle, and they [IDF soldiers] tried everything on us.”
Shalhoub-Kevorkian holds the Lawrence D. Biele Chair of Law at Hebrew University. She gave a talk in the Netherlands on the same subject last month and published a study on claims of Israeli abuses of Palestinian children in The Canadian Journal of Women and the Law late last year.