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After Gaza protesters slain, Cambridge students demand divestment

A Palestinian is wounded during a demonstration as part of the "Great March of Return" as smoke rises near Gaza-Israel border in Khan Yunis, Gaza on 11 May 2018. [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]
A wounded Palestinian is being moved away from the border after Israeli forces fired at protesters during the 'Great March of Return' in Gaza on 11 May 2018 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

University of Cambridge student societies have demanded that authorities cut ties with Caterpillar Inc. and BAE Systems, claiming that the partnership makes the university “complicit in war crimes”.

The statement, released yesterday in the name of dozens of university and college groups, begins by noting the recent killing of Palestinian protesters in the occupied Gaza Strip by Israeli forces, in the context of the “Great March of Return”.

“As highlighted by Human Rights Watch,” the students note, “Caterpillar Inc. supplies the militarised D9 bulldozers used by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to demolish thousands of Palestinian homes, making way for Jewish-only settlements.”

Meanwhile, the statement continues, “BAE Systems is central to British arms sales to Saudi Arabia, supplying the regime with the Tornado and Typhoon fighter jets which are used to indiscriminately bomb civilians in Yemen, flattening schools and hospitals, and destroying families.”

Read: Israel condemned at massive rally in London for attacks on peaceful Return March

According to the students, “the University of Cambridge maintains a close relationship with both BAE Systems and Caterpillar Inc. through the ‘Cambridge Service Alliance’”, an initiative dubbed “a unique global alliance between leading businesses and universities”.

“We demand that the University of Cambridge honour its ethical responsibilities by immediately terminating the participation of Caterpillar Inc. and BAE Systems in the Cambridge Service Alliance,” the student groups stated, “and cease all institutional links with both companies until they end their role in such terrible violations of international law.”

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