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UK students to begin hunger strike in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners

Image of students from the University of Manchester on December 11, 2016 [@IsraelWC/Facebook]
Image of students from the University of Manchester on December 11, 2016 [@IsraelWC/Facebook]

Five students from the University of Manchester are going on hunger strike in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners.

The students, who say they “have a responsibility to support the Palestinian cause”, will begin their hunger strike tomorrow.

Read: Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails begin hunger strike

Speaking to MEMO, spokesperson and one of the five hunger strikers, Huda Ammori, said that this was their way of standing in solidarity with the Palestinians.

The students say they want to continue the long tradition of student activism that was at the heart of the anti-apartheid movement:

Decades ago, university students were key in demanding the end of apartheid of South Africa. University students have paid a key role in many anti-racist struggles, including Black Lives Matter. The struggle for justice for the Palestinians is no different; they have 70 years of unremitting mistreatment, including thousands of deaths, systemic expulsions, institutional racism and apartheid. We stand in solidarity with them.

Ongoing row

Manchester University’s pro-Palestinian activists are currently in a row with the university’s management over its decision to discipline two students for their role in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign during Israel Apartheid Week.

Dozens of academics signed a petition calling on the university to withdraw the disciplinary charge against the students who carried a banner which read “Stop Arming Israel”.

In a statement to MEMO, the university confirmed that the Freedom of Information request (FOI) made by the students to obtain the list of companies it invested in was being processed “in the normal way”. However, Ammor confirmed that the FOI request has not been met and the university has refused to divest from investing in companies that support the Israeli occupation.

Explaining their reasons for the hunger strike they also mentioned their ongoing row with the university, which they accuse of supporting the “Israeli apartheid regime”.

Through our tuition fees we are funding the university’s activities, which support the Israeli apartheid regime. As most British universities, the University of Manchester invests millions of pounds in companies which are complicit with the suffering of the Palestinians. For instance, the university invests millions in Caterpillar, a company that supplies the bulldozers used by the Israeli Defence Forces to demolish Palestinian homes.

Tomorrow will mark the start of the students’ hunger strike and the 11th day of that of the Palestinian political prisoners. “We join them in their fight for justice.”

Update: A previous version of this piece reported that the students had made a number of demands on the university in order for them to end their hunger strike. Due to various reasons the students have dropped this demands and are now going on hunger strike only in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners.

Categories
Europe & RussiaIsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestineUK
  • Eduardo Pinha

    They might earn a Darwin Arward

  • KOKOU AZIABA

    Let them join fatah or hamas

    • jamal

      That is not what they are aiming for….. their aim is to fight for the rights of Palestinians for dignity and freedom, for the right of Palestinian children to life, not being shoot at and jailed. They are fighting to expose a criminal racist machine. In Israel behind every bulldozer that destroys a Palestinian home or land, there is a tank that protects it. The military machine and the criminal machine work hand in hand, because they are part of the larger criminal machine called Israel.

      • KOKOU AZIABA

        Why can’t you tell Abass to stop inciting young pals against israel. This where the problem comes from

        • jamal

          Tell Netenyahu and his murderous gang to stop the incitement to murder Palestinians…. Palestinian youths have stones in their hands to defend their land and homes, Jewish settler youths are armed to their teeth with guns and on top of that enjoy the protection of the occupying army. See with both your eyes open!

          • KOKOU AZIABA

            If you are talking about palestinian land what would you say about Romans who were there before ; the byzantine etc if they are all claiming the land do you think pals would be there?

          • jamal

            What a stupid argument…. the Romans have left and the Byzantines have left…; the Palestinians ARE STILL and they are not going anywhere. They will stay and fight for their land and homes. If you were there as a Palestinian you would do the same and may be more if your children or sisters or mother are murdered by the Israeli murderous army

          • KOKOU AZIABA

            It shows that you are novice you don’t know anything about the holy land. Jerusalem has been conquered and reconquered. A no point of time were Byzantine left on their own. Even when Nebuchadnezzar and Romans destroyed Jerusalem there were still Jews inside till today; one nation conquered another nation reconquered until the heirs of the land regather again. This is what happened in May 1948..Everthing is already described in the bible . The end result is Israel enemies will be destroyed

  • peepsqueek

    It is always OK to expose injustice anywhere, however there are millions of displace people doing without the basic necessities of life in Syria, Sudan, Yemen, etc. Many of the Syrian refugees arriving in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Kurdistan, and Egypt have not had access to essential medical care or vaccinations, and children have missed school for years. In Turkey, state-run camps for refugees have been called “model camps,” but they house only around 10% of the more than 2 million Syrians in Turkey. The Yemen conflict has resulted in mass displacement, with the direct bombing of schools, hospitals, and other civilian spaces, as well as the Saudi blockades of ports and humanitarian aid. Yet, in the midst of this monumental humanitarian crisis, Palestine and Palestinian prisoners get the lion’s share of attention by the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

    • dwarfpoo

      nice try … This is England, we still should have the right to free speech, Israeli goons have no right to interfere with and lobby MP’s nor British law.. simple as that..

      • peepsqueek

        I agree, and you just exercised it on a Western unrestricted website. Manchester University gets to set its own standards for campus activities, which even students that have good intentions usually lead to anti-semitic propaganda and harassment of Jewish students. Europe has a history of where this eventually leads. If you are on the far right or the far left, you have gone too far.

        If you want to boycott Israel, I have no problem, but singling out Israel for boycott in a sea of Islamic Countries with abysmal human rights records has to have a name. Why not just boycott the entire Middle East for institutional apartheid, sectarian apartheid, religious apartheid, gender apartheid, etc?

        The Jews of Israel are the only non Arab non Muslims that have the full right of self determination in the Middle East and North Africa.

    • jamal

      We are talking here about ISRAEL. Don’t try to divert the discussion. Read my post above ! There are activists who fight for Kurdish rights, or Syrian rights, or whatever. If you want to set up a group to fight for the right of Afghganis, go for it, who is stopping you? But these students have chosen to talk about the plight and the suffering of the Palestinians and expose a truly apartheidic regime in every sense of the world! Who are you to tell them not to?

      • peepsqueek

        I am talking about is here, and my question was that if you want to boycott Israel, I have no problem, but singling out Israel for boycott in a sea of Islamic Countries with abysmal human rights records has to have a name. Why not just boycott the entire Middle East for institutional apartheid, sectarian apartheid, religious apartheid, gender apartheid, restricted women’s rights, religious rights, gay rights, free press, freedom of association etc? Do you know anyone on campus that has ever called for a boycott of any Country besides Israel?

        You ask ‘who am I to tell them not to’, and I am a reader who questions there real motives? Who are you to me not to? Try to use a balanced scale instead of reacting defensively or emotionally.

        • jamal

          And I repeat, Israel is not being singed out – you are the only one who thinks this, because other countries too are having more than their share of being criticised by other lobby groups, you just have to search the internet to find for yourself. You are trying to be protective because you may be one of those who think Israel should have immunity from being criticised for its most serious criminal and racist apartheidic activities and most appalling vicious and criminal actions, including the murder and jailing of children and women, and collective punishment of civilian populations through the confiscation and destruction of their homes. And if silencing those who criticise through intimidation and protectionism does not work, there is always the “anti-semitic” card at hand that Israel and its supporters brand in the face of those who dare to criticise in a desperate attempt to silence them. NO ONE CAN HAVE IMMUNITY AGAINST SERIOUS HUMAN RIGHT ABUSES AND CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY.

          • peepsqueek

            The question was– Do you know anyone on any campus that has ever called for a boycott of any Country for violations of human rights, besides Israel? Please be specific

          • jamal

            You may be young. There was a time when we used to call for the boycott of South African apartheid. And yes there are groups on campus or off campus, who call for the boycott of the Egyptian regime, for example. What is specific about Israel is that it is an occupying power committing very serious and a multitude of crimes, the catalogue is endless, from the murder of children and women, the confiscation of and and homes, the forceful eviction of people from their homes, the division of communities and whole families through a separation wall, the banning of children from reaching their school, the banning of farmers from farming their land, the banning of Palestinians from purchasing a land or a home and giving this right only to jews…. and I can go on and on. I don’t know and other country with such an endless catalogue of crimes and abuses. Don’t try to defend the indefensible.

          • peepsqueek

            1.5 million Palestinian Arabs live in Israel proper as citizens, on land that hypocritical activists say was ethnically cleansed. Arab Israelis have a longer life expectancy in Israel than Americans in America, so much for the genocide. When the West Bank was occupied by Jordan and Gaza was occupied by Egypt, there was never any talk about an independent Palestinian State. It was just used as a staging ground for attacking Israelis, until after the 1967 War was lost.

          • jamal

            You are now turning and diverting the discussion. Ok, I will follow you ! The 1.5 million Palestinians in Israel you are talking about have no equal rights like the Jews. Did you know they can’t purchase a piece of land like Jews can do? did you know they cannot purchase a house like Jews can do? Did you know they can’t hold certain posts? Have you heard of the Land Acquisition Law??? At least 50 discriminatory laws against Palestinians that have been listed by lawyers. Did you know that every year villages are wipe out and the villagers land confiscated, like it happened only recently in Umm Al_Hiran.

          • peepsqueek

            Some the things you have posted are propaganda, however, Palestinian Arabs have more rights in Israel than then do in Arab Countries, where many of them remain refugees for generation after generation.

            Umm-al-Hiran has been the scene of an extensive 13-year legal battle between its Beduin residents and the state. The residents are represented by The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. They were moved under military order and resettled there by the IDF in 1956, after being evicted from the land on which they were living in 1948. Although they have lived in the area for decades, the community was never given legal title to the land.

          • jamal

            Propaganda? Do you know the meaning of propaganda? Propaganda is the attempt to colour something really ugly with shiny bright colours to disguise it. This is exactly what you are trying to do. The Umm Al-Hiran residents were displaced, their lands and homes confiscated. End of story. Trying to colour this with words like “legal battle”, “legal title of the land” etc., this is an attempt to disguise the cruelty of had taken place. This is only one story. There are stories of other villages far more dramatic and sad: such as the wiping the Dir Yasin entire village by the criminal Irgun and Hagganah groups, that were later amalgamated into the what became the IDF.

          • peepsqueek

            Those groups are long gone after Israel became a State, and Dir Yasin happened during the confines of war, and Dir Yasin was on the high ground, which allowed Arab fighters to easily target Jews. And I don’t dismiss any of the injustice that was done to innocent people because of bad leadership.

            It is worth noting that the Palestinian Arab refugees are the only refugees in the world whose status is permanently inherited.   While every other refugee population in the world, such as the millions of displaced persons after the Second World War, has decreased with the passage of time, the Palestinian refugee population continually increases.  Therefore, those refugees from 1948 have today become millions.  The Arab world’s demand that these millions of refugees be allowed to return to the State of Israel, known as the “Right of Return” is not mathematically feasible.

            UNRWA definition of a Palestine refugee in 1952: “A Palestine refugee is [a person] whose normal residence was Palestine for a [minimum period of two years] preceding the outbreak of the conflict in 1948 and who, as a result of this conflict has lost both his home and his means of livelihood.”

          • jamal

            You try to play words and divert the discussion, except to have the courage to condemn murderous criminal Israel….Dir Yaisn happened not because of bad leadership, it happened because of a racist murderous machine that set to exterminate Palestinians and wipe them out to pave the way for the new state. That was the ultimate goal. Luckily many Palestinians refused and are still refusing to leave their homes and land, despite the occupation, daily harassments, intimidation, discrimination and terror by the Israeli army and the settlers.

          • peepsqueek

            With all this “extermination”, Palestinian Arabs have quadrupled their populations both inside and outside of Israel proper since Israel became an independent state. Dir Yasin happened as a result of a war that was initiated by collective Arab States against the newly formed Jewish State. If Israel had lost any of the Arab wars against them, it is the Israelis that would have be exterminated, and you know it.

            Look at the math, and look at the recent history. The most successful Muslim operation of the last few hundred years has been the ethnic cleansing and removal of millions of Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists from the so-called Islamic world. There are now 57 declared Muslims Countries, all members of the “Organization of Islamic Cooperation” at United Nations, the largest voting bloc in the General Assembly. What happened to all the indigenous people that “rejected” Islam, Islamic Sharia, and political Islam?

          • jamal

            Since you started with quotations, let me give you just a couple (and there is more):

            “Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.” Moshe Dayan, address to the Technion, Haifa, reported in Haaretz, April 4, 1969.

            David Ben Gurion (the first Israeli Prime Minister): “If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti – Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?” Quoted by Nahum Goldmann in Le Paraddoxe Juif (The Jewish Paradox), pp121.

          • peepsqueek

            “[If] I were an Arab Leader” –You’ve cherry-picked a single quote by one man, Ben Gurion, and you now imagine that this one quote out of context “If I were an Arab leader” somehow completely represents that man’s whole point of view. You somehow think that this one quote negates thousands of pages of other writings by Ben Gurion, as well as negating hundreds of thousands of pages of writings by other people, equally as important as Ben Gurion.

            Ben Gurion wrote a 10 volume history of the founding of the State of Israel. He totally believed that the tiny Israel deserved to belong to the Jews. He worked tirelessly to establish a tiny Jewish State, and he also worked tirelessly to try to create peace between Jews and Arabs.

            Yes, the 20th century was full of injustice, it also established 22 independent Arab States, regardless of all the non-Arabs and non Muslims that lived in those territories, ruled by an Ottoman Turkish Caliphate. Attempt to use a balanced scale.

  • jamal

    These brave students are fighting for justice, against Israeli cruelty to children, women, and Palestinians in general. They are fighting to stop the expulsion of Palestinians from their lands and homes, and against the destruction of homes as a form of collective punishment. The Israeli army is an army of occupation, it shoots at children, it jails children, it shoots at women who try to protect their children or their property. Israel is not a democracy, it is a monstrous racist, murderous and oppressive machine. It has no other description. Palestinians have no right to buy homes or land, and those who have a home or a land it is taken from them under the most bizarre excuses….. often “you land or your house is now in a military zone” is the preferred trick used by the apartheid military administration.

    • peepsqueek

      Israel should be at the bottom of the list of those in the Middle East who are monstrous racists, murderous and oppressive machines.

      • jamal

        Israel is bar far the worst… read my post below.

        • peepsqueek

          Amnesty International- Palestine (State of)
          The Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and the Hamas de facto administration in the Gaza Strip both continued to restrict freedom of expression, including by arresting and detaining critics and political opponents. They also restricted the right to peaceful assembly and used excessive force to disperse some protests. Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees remained rife in both Gaza and the West Bank. Unfair trials of civilians before military courts continued in Gaza; detainees were held without charge or trial in the West Bank. Women and girls faced discrimination and violence. Courts in Gaza continued to hand down death sentences and Hamas carried out executions; no death sentences were imposed or executions carried out in the West Bank.

          Egypt: The authorities used mass arbitrary arrests to suppress demonstrations and dissent, detaining journalists, human rights defenders and protesters, and restricted the activities of human rights organizations. The National Security Agency (NSA) subjected hundreds of detainees to enforced disappearance; officers of the NSA and other security forces tortured and otherwise ill-treated detainees. Security forces used excessive lethal force during regular policing and in incidents that may have amounted to extrajudicial executions. Mass unfair trials continued before civilian and military courts. The authorities failed to adequately investigate human rights violations and bring perpetrators to justice. Women continued to face sexual and gender-based violence. The government continued to restrict religious minorities and prosecuted people for defamation of religion. Individuals faced imprisonment for “debauchery” on the basis of their perceived sexual orientation. Hundreds of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants were detained while seeking to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Courts continued to hand down death sentences; executions were carried out.

          Syria: Parties to the armed conflicts in Syria committed war crimes, other serious violations of international humanitarian law and gross human rights abuses with impunity. Government and allied Russian forces carried out indiscriminate attacks and direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects using aerial bombing and artillery, causing thousands of civilian casualties. There were reports that government forces also used chemical agents. Government forces maintained lengthy sieges that trapped civilians and cut their access to essential goods and services. The authorities arbitrarily arrested and detained thousands, subjecting many to enforced disappearance, prolonged detention and unfair trials, and continued to systematically torture and otherwise ill-treat detainees causing deaths in detention. They also committed unlawful killings, including extrajudicial executions. The armed group Islamic State (IS) besieged civilians, carried out direct attacks on civilians and indiscriminate attacks, sometimes reportedly using chemical agents, perpetrated numerous unlawful killings, and subjected thousands of women and girls to sexual slavery and other abuses. Other non-state armed groups indiscriminately shelled and besieged predominantly civilian areas. US-led forces carried out air strikes on IS and other targets, in which hundreds of civilians were killed. By the end of the year, the conflict had caused the deaths of more than 300,000 people, displaced 6.6 million people within Syria and forced 4.8 million people to seek refuge abroad.

          If you go down the list of Countries in the Middle East, you would have to put Israel on the bottom of the list.

          • jamal

            Cutting and pasting long text from the internet will not help. Nothing beats the veeeeeeery long catalogue of crimes by Israel. Contrasting it with some oppressive regimes in the ME is not helpful.

          • peepsqueek

            I just gave you a few examples of what goes on continuously in the Middle East under these dictators and totalitarian regimes. Middle human rights was an issue, they should boycott the entire Middle East.

            Every American President in your lifetime has supported Israel’s right to defend itself, and recognizes Israel as an ally, and they share intelligence.

          • jamal

            You still play the game by trying to divert the topic…. I have told you WHY Israel is not like other ME states…. it has a an extensive and endless catalogue of war crimes and crimes against humanity that it commits on a DAILY BASIS as an occupying power. US support of Israel is what gave Israel that immunity against prosecution and punishment. Millions of honest US citizens disagree with the policies of their country and know it is wrong and immoral…. this unconditional and blind support will not last forever.

          • peepsqueek

            And you still do not get it. The UN Rules of War supersede the UN Resolutions. When your non-combatants and civilian populations have been a constant target for decades, all bets are off the table and Israel has had to build walls, fences, and weapons blockades to get it to stop. Today Israel is safer than any major City in the US. The West Bank and Gaza were under Arab rule from 1948 to 1967, and there was not talk of an independent Palestinian State, only the destruction of a Jewish State.

            If you want to compare Israel to South Africa, please tell the readers: Which Israeli hospitals refuse to admit Israeli Arabs? Which Israeli restaurants refuse to serve Israeli Arabs? Which Israeli universities refuse to admit Israeli Arabs? Which Israeli buses refuse to board Israeli Arabs? In what elections are Israeli Arabs not allowed to vote? In what area of public life are Arab women not allowed to serve? While all of Israel’s Middle East neighbors practice institutional apartheid, sectarian apartheid, religious apartheid, gender apartheid, etc. If I am incorrect, please tell me which Countries in the Middle East and North Africa do not have this issue?

          • jamal

            The call for the destruction of Israel came about BECAUSE the zionist groups did not hide their expansionist intention, it is in their declaration. Also, even before 1948, they started a war of terror on the British forces but also the Arabs. Don’t try to justify the crimes of the zionist groups and the state of Israel. Whole villages were wiped out with children, women and unarmed men mercilessly murdered in cold blood.

            Today, nothing has changed, only the tactics.

            In Israel only the bulldozer and the tank work hand in hand. One to destroy homes and pave the way for the land grab, and the other to oppress, suppress any resistance, and offer the protection to the bulldoze. Genius isn’t it. No country in entire world operates with vicious, calculated and systematic criminal mind.

            As for Arab citizens not banned from restaurants, cafes etc. etc. well, thank you for being so generous with them after stripping them from their lands and homes ! The issue here is that Arab citizens are banned from buying land, are banned from purchasing a house, are banned from holding certain positions. I repeat, there are at least 50 discriminatory laws against the Arab citizens that do not apply to Jews !

          • peepsqueek

            You have to separate propaganda from facts. If you don’t tell the whole story, even facts can be used a propaganda.

            ” they started a war of terror on the British forces” -The King David Hotel was the site of the British military command and the British Criminal Investigation Division. The Irgun chose it as a target after British troops invaded the Jewish Agency June 29, 1946, and confiscated large quantities of documents. At about the same time, more than 2,500 Jews from all over Palestine were placed under arrest. The information about Jewish Agency operations, including intelligence activities in Arab countries, was taken to the King David Hotel. The Irgun warned them that they were going to target the headquarters, but the British ignored the warning.

            A week later, news of a massacre of 40 Jews in a pogrom in Poland reminded the Jews of Palestine how Britain’s restrictive immigration policy had condemned thousands to death.

            Irgun leader Menachem Begin stressed his desire to avoid civilian casualties and said three telephone calls were placed, one to the hotel, another to the French Consulate, and a third to the Palestine Post, warning that explosives in the King David Hotel would soon be detonated.

            On July 22, 1946, the calls were made. The call into the hotel was apparently received and ignored. Begin quotes one British official who supposedly refused to evacuate the building, saying: “We don’t take orders from the Jews.” As a result, when the bombs exploded, the casualty toll was high: a total of 91 killed and 45 injured. Among the casualties were 15 Jews. Few people in the hotel proper were injured by the blast.