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Gaza’s students expressed solidarity with US students’ protests. (Design: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

According to Gaza’s government media office, 103 schools and universities have been destroyed in Israel’s ongoing genocidal assault on the besieged enclave.

Student movements in the Gaza Strip have saluted the students on American campuses for transforming their universities into “Popular Universities for Gaza.”

“We, the students of Gaza, salute the students of Columbia University, Yale University, New York University, Rutgers University, the University of Michigan, and dozens of universities across the United States who are rising up in solidarity with Gaza and to put an end to the Zionist-U.S. genocide against our people in Gaza,” the student movements said in a statement.

Protests began at Columbia University ten days ago and have since spread to more than 20 universities and colleges across the US, with hundreds of students being arrested.

“As we remain under the bombs of occupation, resisting Nazi genocide, grieving for our martyred colleagues and faculty, and witnessing the destruction of our universities, we welcome the examples of solidarity offered by students facing arrest, police violence, suspension, eviction, and expulsion,” the statement, signed by 13 student organizations, added.

It acknowledged that the students’ protest action was “in order to demand that their universities end their complicity in the Zionist-U.S. genocide and renounce their support for the occupation and the war profiteers that arm it.”

Arms Sales Profits

The Gazan student movements said these actions come “as university administrations collaborate with members of Congress to discredit conscientious student activists and faculty, expel students, ban events, shut down student organizations such as Students for Justice in Palestine, and condemn activists working to end the Nazi genocide.”

The statement further condemned “these same universities” that “invest in the same companies that profit from the continued sale of weapons to the Zionist regime to continue its genocidal offensive.”

According to Gaza’s government media office, 103 schools and universities have been destroyed in Israel’s ongoing genocidal assault on the besieged enclave that began last October.

More than 34,300 Palestinians have been killed since October 7, amongst them several university academics, school teachers and students.

In January, the Geneva-based Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said Israel “has targeted academic, scientific, and intellectual figures in the Strip in deliberate and specific air raids on their homes without prior notice.”

“Those targeted include 17 individuals who held professor degrees, 59 who held doctoral degrees, and 18 who held master’s degrees,” Euro-Med stated.

The Gazan students also said: “Our students – and our educational system as a whole – in occupied Palestine are subjected to ongoing genocidal aggression: our universities destroyed and bombed, our student organizations banned, and our student leaders subjected to torture, assassination and mass imprisonment.”

Liberation Struggle

In Palestine, and around the world, “the student movement has always been a driving force of our struggle for liberation”.

They said that when they see videos and images “from American universities today, we are reminded of our history of student struggle as well as the student uprisings of 1968, which challenged imperialism from Vietnam to Palestine and reshaped the face of Europe and the United States. Now, in 2024, the student movement is once again leading the way.”

“From here in Gaza, we see you and salute you. Your actions and activism matter, especially in the heart of the empire, in the United States,” the statement added.

UN Voices Concerns

The UN human rights office meanwhile has voiced concern about the detention of hundreds of students during demonstrations at American universities, the Anadolu news agency reported.

“We’re very concerned by the arrests of hundreds of students at US universities, and a number of cases that are quite heavy-handed response by the police to the protests,” spokesperson Jeremy Laurence told Anadolu.

Underlining that rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are “fundamental,” Laurance said: “Everyone has a right to peacefully protest, and they shouldn’t be obstructed in doing so.”

He said the office is aware of reports about “antisemitism” and “anti-Islamism” at the protests, adding that they should also be condemned and stopped.

“People have the right to protest and (express their) political views as long as they respect. Their political views, in this case, with respect to what’s happening in Gaza, that they’re allowed to air their opinion and express their views on the events that are unfolding that which are tragic, we know that,” Laurence reportedly said.

“They should be entitled to express those views.”

‘Disclose. Divest’

Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine in a statement on Friday emphasized that “What began with a few students has grown into a vibrant communal space, far more educational than a college course.”

“In the face of mass slaughter and our own complicity in imperialist oppression, we gather together knowing that the strength of this camp comes from the Palestinian people,” the statement added.

The students said “We honour their struggle and their resistance. We learn from their histories, their creativity, and their love.”

“Disclose. Divest. We will not stop, we will not rest. Free Palestine.”

(PC, Anadolu)

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