by a coalition of students concerned about the siege on Gaza
Stanford students, faculty and alumni will gather at White Plaza Friday, November 16 at noon to sit in solidarity with the residents of Gaza currently under siege by Israeli military forces. They will protest the Israeli assault and economic chokehold on Gaza, and will rally students to demand that the University divest from companies implicated in the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine.
A coalition of concerned students have been meeting since Wednesday, when Israel first commenced the “Pillar of Defense” – a naval, air and artillery offensive on the besieged territory of Gaza. The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated civilian regions in the world.
The coalition has planned a sit-in that will symbolize the Israeli blockade and siege of Gaza. Allied faculty have confirmed their attendance in support.
Given the death of many Palestinian civilians and our complicity in this violence as Stanford students, we have a responsibility to do something about it.
Since November 8 – when Israel first began violent aggression against Gaza, killing six civilians, including three children – at least 23 more Palestinians have died as a result of Israeli attacks, including another six children. Israeli strikes have injured over 300 Palestinians in this time. The IDF has attacked over 500 targets in Gaza since the formal Israeli offensive began.
The blockade of Gaza – created by crippling sanctions from Israel and Egypt – limits Palestinian access to the outside world, including access to food and medicine. Such conditions constitute what can only be described as an open air prison.
This is the second full-fledged military offensive Israel has perpetrated against Gaza since the blockade began in 2006 after Hamas was elected to power. During Operation “Cast Lead,” – a three-week-long Israeli assault on Gaza – Israeli forces killed more than 1400 Palestinians. The vast majority of these casualties were civilians, including 300 children. In this same time, 10 Israeli soldiers and 3 Israeli civilians were killed – illustrating the imbalance of power that defines the Palestine-Israel dynamic.
The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Conflict in Gaza found that Israel was in gross violation of international law – intentionally targeting innocent Palestinian civilians. The report found Israel guilty of war crimes during this devastating assault.
Sadly, the current developments in Gaza look like a treacherous walk down memory lane.
We as students are not powerless in this conflict. The endowments of Stanford University ($17 billion) and the Associated Students of Stanford University ($5 million) both invest in multinational companies that facilitate human rights violations in Palestine. Both endowments are also implicated in the current Israeli assault on Gaza.
We call for students and faculty to demand that these endowments divest from the suffering Israel inflicts on Palestine. One of the most ethical and responsible actions Stanford University and the ASSU can take at this time is to divest from this grievous occupation.
We encourage students to put pressure on the university by signing the petition for selective divestment developed by Stanford Students for Palestinian Equal Rights (SPER). More information about the divestment campaign and petition can be found at sper.stanford.edu.
Our call for divestment is not one in isolation, nor is it one in vain. The UC-Irvine student body unanimously passed a resolution for its university to divest from the Israeli conflict on Monday; the Brown Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies (ACCRIP) recommended Wednesday that the Brown Corporation consider divestment from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. And on Thursday, Swarthmore Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine sought to clarify whether its university invested in 45 companies implicated in the occupation in order to further their divestment campaign.
We are confident in our stand to champion social justice and the advancement of human rights. We are confident that students all around the world will unite with the right side of history. The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.
We ask all students to come to White Plaza at noon to sit with us in solidarity with the people of Gaza. There is power in numbers, and we call for the campus to mobilize. This is our chance to show Stanford taking an active role in this global movement. Your presence comes at a critical point in the human struggle for freedom, justice and dignity.
We implore Stanford to do its part. We implore you to do your part.