The University of South-Eastern Norway (USN) wholeheartedly condemns the terrorist attacks raised by Hamas against Israel, attacks which again trigger unacceptable reprisals on the Israeli side.

USN entertains longstanding and highly valuable relationships to higher education and research institutions in Israel. USN also have close cooperation with higher education institutions in the West Bank and in Gaza, which are now being victim of an unwanted, violent conflict unleashed by Hamas. We are shocked by the atrocities and violence inflicted on the Israeli and Palestinian people, colleagues, and students. During this difficult time, we wish to demonstrate our solidarity with our Israeli and Palestinian friends and all those who fall victim to the violence.

Our thoughts are also with the Israeli and Palestinian students and researchers at our university who now fear for their relatives and friends back home. USN stands with you during this difficult time.

Norway initiated and is committed to the UN Safe Schools Declaration. The Declaration provides governments with the opportunity to express broad political support for the protection and continuation of education in armed conflicts. Furthermore, the declaration acts as an instrument for states to endorse and commit to the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict. These guidelines urge all parties to armed conflict not to use schools and universities for any purpose in support of their military effort:

"Functioning schools and universities should not be used by the fighting forces of parties to armed conflict in any way in support of the military effort.

Schools and universities must never be destroyed as a measure intended to deprive the opposing parties to the armed conflict of the ability to use them in the future. Schools and universities—be they in session, closed for the day or for holidays, evacuated or abandoned—are ordinarily civilian objects."

USN strongly urges both sides in the conflict to respect the Declaration and the Guidelines.