University of Cambridge students learning Arabic will no longer be able to study in the Palestinian territories for their year abroad because of Israeli authorities not granting visa renewals.

Five Cambridge students heading to Birzeit University in Ramallah last year ran into difficulties with the Israeli authorities at Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, because Israel does not offer student visas for study in the West Bank, meaning students who wish to stay longer than three months have to leave and re-enter.

Cambridge University Palestine Society said it understood why the university had taken the decision “given the distressing interrogations and deportations these students have been subjected to”.

A spokesman for the University said the edict was “due to recent difficulties faced by students in securing visa renewals from the Israeli authorities”.

He added: “This is regrettable but our first duty is to ensure that students are able to complete their year abroad in an Arabic-speaking region before commencing their final year of study at the University of Cambridge.”