A statement from the Executive Team regarding the ongoing situation in Israel-Palestine
The Executive Team strongly condemns the violence in Occupied Palestine by the State of Israel. It is heartbreaking to see people forced out of their homes, murdered and brutally handled by the ongoing military occupation. We stand with those affected by the violence who have lost their lives, many of whom are children, along with the many more wounded.
Many of our students are from the Palestinian diaspora and it is our duty to ensure we support our students and make sure they are heard. As student leaders, it is imperative we use our platform to raise awareness and raise our voice for the oppressed. What is happening in Palestine is the result of a continued illegal occupation and an apartheid that is recognised internationally, most recently by the Human Rights Watch. To stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine is therefore standing against oppression and injustice. The dispossession of hundreds of thousands of people is not a complex issue, it’s ethnic cleansing. This (and any) ethnic cleansing, apartheid, settler colonialism and oppression are not ‘complex debates’, contrary to certain media narratives. It is also clear by the sheer disparity in casualties that Israel’s actions go far beyond self-defence. We must condemn these atrocities perpetrated by the Israeli government on Palestinians.
The topic of Palestine and Israel may be uncomfortable for some people, due to the lack of knowledge about the current situation or even the history. We urge everyone to educate themselves on this matter and seek the countless resources available, in order to hold meaningful, well-informed and respectful conversations about this. Ignorance and misinformation cannot be used to label this as a complex issue that we can simply ignore. We should not be avoiding these discussions. Knowledge is power, so let us educate ourselves.
It is also crucial to emphasise that this is not a religious debate. Condemning the state of Israel for its actions and policies is not synonymous with being racist and derogatory towards the Jewish community. This is an important distinction that needs to be made and highlighted. Standing in solidarity with Palestinians and the injustice they are enduring should not come at the cost of an entire community or religious group being harassed and abused. Hate, discrimination and abuse towards our Jewish students will not be tolarated and the rise in antisemitic behaviour, particularly within our student body, is something we strongly condemn. Similarly, islamophobia and anti-palestinian rhetoric or violence towards our students and student activists will not be tolerated. If you have experienced or witnessed bullying, harassment or racism of any kind please use the QMUL Report + Support tool. Ensuring our students feel safe is at the top of our priorities.
We understand that the ongoing situation in Israel-Palestine is causing distress and anxiety for our students, many of whom may have lost loved ones or are concerned about their home situations. It is important that we all support and look out for one another in these difficult times. If you have been affected you may also want to utilise the confidential Advice and Counselling service or submit Extenuating Circumstances for upcoming assessments.
The Executive Team also acknowledges the part our own government plays in aiding Israel when it comes to committing such atrocities. Numerous Universities invest in companies who are complicit in Israeli violations of international law and need to be held accountable. We call on our government to re-evaluate its position on this and speak out against the war crimes being committed by the Israeli government. The UK government should take action against Israel in accordance with international law and call for an absolute ceasefire to prevent further loss of innocent lives.
The Executive Officer Team
Shamima Akter, President
Tiana Dinard-Samuel, Vice President Communities
Jack Juckes, Vice President Welfare
Cameron Storey, Vice President Humanities and Social Sciences
Aphrodite Murray-Liddington, Vice President Science & Engineering
Mat Robathan, Vice President Barts and The London