Israel expressed its "disappointment" and "dissatisfaction" on Thursday with the Spanish Housing Ministry's decision to disqualify the Ariel University Center of Samaria from competing in the finals of the international competition between university architecture departments to design and build a self-sufficient house using solar power.
Sergio Vega, project manager of the Solar Decathlon, wrote in a communiqué to the college, "The decision was made by the Spanish government based on the fact that the university is located in occupied territory in the West Bank."
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the decision was "discriminatory" and is based on political considerations," adding that it "goes against the academic spirit and values of freedom of research and cooperation."
The Ariel University Center reached the finals together with 20 other universities from around the world after two years of collaboration with the competition's management and the Spanish government.
In this framework, the college was even awarded a 100,000 Euro grant by the competition's organizers to build a model house for the final competition slated to be held in Madrid in June 2010.
According to the Foreign Ministry, the college's disqualification at such a late stage is "politically-motivated."
"Peace and harmony will not come from boycotting a cultural and scientific environmental project," the ministry said, "Unity between the civilizations can only be achieved through cooperation.
"Research conducted by Ariel college has contributed greatly to the environment, while those who demanded that it be banned have contributed nothing to this universal cause," it added.