Statement from the Students' Union's Full-time Elected Officer team.
Since July 8th 2014, the Israeli government has engaged in a siege of Gaza. We have Palestinian students and staff at the University of Sussex, as well as a community of individuals who are passionate about social justice. It is for these reasons we believe it is right to make the following remarks.
As elected officers, and as human beings, we are appalled at the horrific military assault that has been taking place in Gaza, which has led to the deaths of over 1800 people, with the UN estimating over 85% of fatalities being civilians.
The Palestinians’ right to education has been particularly hard hit by the siege, Basic educational equipment including books, paper, computers, stationery and desks are all in limited supply and Israel routinely cuts off Gaza’s electricity supply.
Moreover, the bombing of the Islamic University of Gaza is an explicit act of war that threatens the ability of education to be a force for social change. The University offers courses in medicine, engineering, nursing, science, arts and law as well as Islamic studies. Many of our students will relate directly to their counterparts there.
We join the Trades Union Congress in calling for an end to the Israeli assault on Gaza, the lifting of the siege, an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories and for the UK government to stop arming and supporting Israel.
We call upon students to support the Palestinian call for a condemnation and boycott of illegal settlements, settlement goods and corporations benefiting from the illegal occupation of the West Bank. The Students’ Union already holds policy to boycott Israeli goods.
The University of Sussex Students’ Union has a longstanding and proud history of taking a stand against oppression, inequality and injustice. In 1973, the Students’ Union worked alongside the University and activists in South Africa in creating the Mandela Scholarship, an annual award to postgraduate students from South Africa who at the time will have been unable to study due to racist apartheid laws.
Having considered the situation carefully, we believe the University of Sussex and the Students’ Union should work together in creating an annual scholarship for an undergraduate student from Gaza to study at Sussex for the duration of a degree, in the pursuit of knowledge and social justice. We look forward to working with the University to confirming details and eligibility. We will also look towards setting up a visiting fellowship with the University and an institution in Gaza, to create relationships and share research.
We call on all students to join us in taking part in the peaceful protests and actions across Britain, demanding an immediate end to Israel’s assault and siege on Gaza.
For further information on this, please contact Michael Segalov, Communications Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org
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