About: Student Sit-In in Solidarity with Victims of the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Warwick University students have claimed a space on campus as an act in solidarity with the innocent victims in Gaza and Israel, and with the other groups in the UK which have taken similar action.

We call on our University to suspend dealings with businesses which support Israel’s illegal occupation, such as BAE Systems, and to support our fellow students in Palestine who are being denied their right to education.

There will be talks, films, workshops, debates and anything else we can arrange. The occupation of the space will continue until we believe sufficient action has been taken by the University, and the activities which take place will reflect the wishes of the group. In keeping with our support for the right to education, we will not disrupt lectures, but will maintain a constant symbolic presence.

Other universities in the country, including Birmingham, Essex, SOAS, LSE, Sussex, Kings and Oxford have already seen occupations. Others are planned and will start at any moment. This is an issue which extends far beyond the borders of Warwick, and this occupation and sit-in is undertaken as part of the wider movement. Join us!

Our Demands

  1. Warwick University should suspend all relations with companies which supply the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This includes BAE Systems, MBDA, QinetiQ and Rolls Royce.
  2. That the University donate old computer equipment and textbooks to universities in Palestine, specifically those that were partially destroyed in Gaza during the current Israeli military operation.
  3. That the University fund and provide logistical support for a series of talks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  4. That there be no legal, financial, or academic measures taken against anyone involved in or supporting the sit-in. This extends to the Student’s Union. Students involved should be guaranteed free movement in and out of the space.

https://warwicksolidaritysitin.wordpress.com/

Press contact: 07868 398545

warwicksitin@googlemail.com

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16 Responses to “About: Student Sit-In in Solidarity with Victims of the Israel-Palestine Conflict”

  1. Gaza Says:

    Out of interest, what will you do if the university outright refuses these demands? How long will you sit in there? If your answer is indefinitely, how long do you think it will be before the university removes you from the room?

  2. Who, where - the Occupations continue - Occupations Says:

    […] Cambridge since evening of January 23rd. They are in the Law Faculty. These are their demands. Essex since January 16th at 7pm. They are in LTB 04. King’s College London since morning of 20th January. They are in a lecture theatre at Strand campus. These are their demands. Leeds University, since 16.40 January 22nd. They are in the Botany House building. Their demands. Manchester Met, since 22nd January. They are in the Geoffrey Manton building. Their demands Queen Mary University, since yesterday afternoon. They are in Room 1.13 of the Frances Bancroft building. Their demands. Warwick, since noon 21st January. They are somewhere on campus! Their demands. […]

  3. Max Says:

    Before recruiting people for your cause, would it not be wise to be sure what that is?
    What you stand for is not the support of the victims of the conflict, but a condemnation of a nation that acted (though somewhat disproportionately) to protect itself. And yet nowhere on your site is there any hint at what this conflict is all about. However, what there is for all to see are phrases such as ‘illegal occupation’.
    What you are conducting, dear sirs, is an indoctrination, which shows nothing more than ill-education, and ignorance.

  4. warwicksolidaritysitin Says:

    Hi Max
    First I should clarify that a large proportion of our group are women, Dear Sirs isn’t wholly appropriate

    We are standing for the humanitarian concerns of the victims of the conflict. Many of the people involved in the protest have differing opinions on the nature of the conflict, and how it progresses. Our sit-in is pro-peace, and as such we condemn the acts of violence carried out by both sides, although as you acknowledge there is something of an imbalance.

    Our demand that the University cease to deal with companies which sell arms to Israel is perfectly reasonable; no-one is permitted to sell arms to the Palestinians, and those who do are vilified, yet arming Israel is seen to be legitimate and acceptable. We do not accept this line of thought, and think the arming of Israel has helped to create the humanitarian catastrophe now ongoing.

    Please explain what you have said about indoctrination. Clearly we haven’t indoctrinated you, are weaker minds at threat? People who have come by with concerns about what we are doing have, on the whole, left reassured and supportive. Again, you have called us ill-educated and ignorant. Given that you haven’t met any of us, or really engaged with us at all, I fail to see how this insult sticks.

  5. Michael Says:

    Max does have a point hidden in his angry, self-important rhetoric – the 4 demands set out do not significantly contribute to alleviating the immediate suffering of Gazans. Such activity is completely non-ideological – those who are suffering are neither on the side of Hamas nor the Israelis. They are just victims.

    Demands 3 and 4 are selfish demands for Warwick students – but very reasonable and worth supporting. The 2nd is a good idea, but doesn’t help those worse hit so it seems a little tame. The 1st idea I think is good, but it is ideological – and it doesn’t address the immediate problem of the human suffering. Perhaps a further demand could be added that the University divert money to the value of their average income per month from their relationships with these companies to aid organisations working in Gaza, for a suitable period of time. And insist that they do so not out of any existing charity contributions, as this will divert resources from people who already depend on this money, even if they’re not in as great a need of it.

    Naturally that’s a significant demand, but it is worth having as a goal even if it is compromised upon should the University be willing to listen. Aiding those who are injured, have lost family members, and who’s infrastructure is not capable of delivering them basic services need our support first and foremost. Punishing weapons companies and helping Universities are sensible after-thoughts.

  6. warwicksolidaritysitin Says:

    Thanks for your insightful and reasonable comments Michael. I would disagree with some aspects, but your suggested demand strikes me as a good idea. I’ll raise it at the next meeting.
    Chris

  7. Graham Says:

    This is such a biased website. It is ridiculous to “demand” this action of the university. The University is impartial and should remain so. There have been wrongs on both sides and no one can clearly say who is in the right or wrong. All that a website like this achieves is division elsewhere and specifically within the student community. If you really cared about the people of Palestine, you would shut this down and stop continuing the point scoring that has led to such hatred on both sides. Your agressive approach also sets an extremely bad example. You want something, so you try and get it by force, instead of negotiation. In a nutshell, you are showing all the stupidity as to why this conflict has continued for so long.

  8. Steven Says:

    I’m sorry, but I fail to see why you are ‘punishing’ weapons companies at all. Have they committed any crime? Surely if anything you should be occupying a UN building, and demanding they change the law. In my opinion, a company is not to blame if they are operating within the law.
    Steven

  9. warwicksolidaritysitin Says:

    @ Graham: I am sorry you feel that way! However, the University is in no way “impartial” on this. Their unwillingness previously to make statements condemning the loss of civilian lives on both sides (as they had for, say, the Mumbai bombings) was, we feel, directly related to their close relationships with BAE Systems and other such arms companies, that are selling weapons and parts used in this conflict. We are not asking for people to pick sides, or pick who is right or wrong – we are asking that the University and our fellow students recognise the senseless loss of human life on both sides of this conflict.

    Another aim is to show solidarity with those suffering because of this conflict. People from Gaza have sent us messages of thanks and support, because actions like ours have given them the hope that is so hard to see when under oppression – that people in the world do care, and that people are trying to do things, however small, to help their cause.

    Finally, I am sorry that you feel we have been aggressive. If you come down and speak to us, I am sure you won’t maintain that impression… we really aren’t crazy people, we’re just concerned students trying to help oppressed all over the world. I don’t really see how asking to send aid, and trying to educate people on this issue, can be seen as “the stupidity as to why this conflict has continued for so long”

  10. warwicksolidaritysitin Says:

    @ Steven: If you know any local UN buildings, give us a shout! Seriously though, we are trying to change what we see as our university’s complicity in the humanitarian disaster that has arisen in Gaza, via war-profiteering companies such as BAE. If the law is your concern, surely you should stand with us condemning the humanitarian situation in Gaza too – after all, it’s against many UN statutes and resolutions (even Israel’s own courts has found the dividing wall illegal).

    Hope to see you at the EGM later!

  11. Ben Says:

    I think you are unlikely to achieve anything substantial through these demands. Even if the University accepts all of your proposals and severs its ties with arms companies such as BAE, the effect on the IDF will be minimal. You seem to be forgetting that BAE supply the MOD and are an integral part of maintaining our own defensive capabilities. The arms sold to Israel make up only a small proportion of their business. By boycotting these companies any effect would be felt by our own military more than any other.

    Whilst I personally condemn the disproportionate force used by the IDF, the University should remain impartial on this matter.

  12. Louise Says:

    I think the problem is that you need to make what you are standing for clearer, as at first I too thought you were just supporting Palestine and taking sides. I think the idea is a good one and I support all you are doing but be very careful, as I this is a sensitive topic with no room for ambiguity. Good luck in all you do and I hope that there are no repercussions for you all.

  13. warwicksolidaritysitin Says:

    @ Ben: we are not calling for a general boycott of BAE or other companies. What we were calling for with the sit-in was to sever ties with those companies that supplied arms to either side of the Israel-Gaza conflict. The proportion that, for example, BAE Systems supplies to our own army is a lot smaller than you’d think – send an e-mail to our inbox, and our resident expert Barnaby Pace will be able to give you a low-down!

    @ Louise: I wholly agree – one of the greatest problems with the action was people misunderstanding what we stood for. It is a complex issue related to a complex conflict. I’m glad you gave us the benefit of the doubt, and hope that any events in the future better reflect our intents. If you want to get involved and try to steer us in the right direction, please do!

  14. James Says:

    War profiteering? Meeting demand is not war profiteering. Only if such was done in an improper way by the contractors, e.g. charging extortionate amounts, does it count as war profiteering. Otherwise, you’d also stigamatise farmers supplying a population in a famine as famine profiteering. Bit silly really, so demanding the university to cut ties to the listed companies is rather unreasonable.

    If the issue is actually aimed at war itself, then the goals of Armistice International and similar is rather more suitable. If the issue is aimed at why Palestine is blockaded, then again that is a different issue in terms of world politics and not individual business.

    In regards to point 2 and 3, you can hardly protest to force others to give to charitable causes. That’s not charity, if anything stealing is a better term. Even if the university did owe responsibility, which is already dubious, this does not make them liable. Similarly, if I wasted vast amounts of paper and owned a “gaz-guzzler”, environmental protestors could not occupy my house until I gave into their demands.

    If you really want to provide aid turn your demands into goals and increase knowledge and understanding on the issue. For example, though perhaps there were too many assertions you did hold an interesting talk of US State Terrorism. To be honest, as a rather apathetic student to the issue (something which is what you should actually be trying to address) the tactics being used simply alienate myself from your cause. From personal experience the same is true of my flatmates and friends. Beyond this you might argue that such does not hold true elsewhere but I can only communicate what I see.

    Best Regards,
    James.

  15. wahab Says:

    I can not understand why people remember “impartiality” when civilians are killed in the Middle east while they are racing each other in condemning killing civilians elsewhere. And what is the point of asking UN to change the law in order arms will not find their way to Israel. Israel holds the world record in defying UN resolutions, either those of the general assembly or the security council. And those who see that demanding a boycott of BAE will not have an impact on IDF, are they ready to accept that Hamas should be also given access to weapons based on your assumptions that boycotting is not worthy. I think those who are concerned about “impartiality” should support this demand, unless impartiality means in their dictionary not condemning Israeli killing of civilians.
    Why expressing solidarity with innocent civilians is seen as impartiality. If siding with the our feelings of humanity is regarded as an impartiality, should that mean that we should stay midway between humanity and brutality?
    Palestinians and Israelis are cousins and centuries of history proven that Arabs and Jews always provided safe haven to each other in difficult times but injustice always creates hatred, and if you have two brothers fighting each others, not giving a knife to one of them does not mean siding with the other as long as you are doing the same with both of them, and it is completely irresponsible to say that keeping the knife off one of them will do nothing because he can get it anywhere else, so I am giving it to him!
    No one should expect that this solidarity sit-in will end the humanitarian crisis in Gaza or prevent the arm selling to Israel.
    The solidarity shown by this group of student is proving to be effective within the limits of their set of goals.
    I am praising the action of these magnificent students and really feel ashamed of not being able to express my solidarity by more than these words.

  16. Dave Says:

    Please support Strathclydes students.

    Strathclyde University Occupied by Students

    Students at the Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland have occupied the main administration building (McCance) in solidarity with the people of Gaza.

    UPDATE: The University has called in the police. Please express your support by publiczing this widely. Also call the protesting students on: 0759 5626057

    http://pulsemedia.org/2009/02/04/strathclyde-university-occupied-by-students/

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