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Oxford, Cambridge universities set up ‘Liberation Zones’ for Gaza

May 7, 2024 at 11:41 am

A ‘Liberated Zone’ banner is seen inside a pro-Palestine encampment set up by students in front of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History on May 6, 2024 [Laurel Chor/Getty Images]

Students, faculty and staff of the Oxford and Cambridge University communities established ‘Liberated Zone’ encampments on their campuses yesterday morning, joining over 100 universities across the globe in protest of Israel’s seven-month long genocide in Gaza.

To date, Israel has killed over 34,600 Palestinians and targeted every aspect of life in Gaza, including the destruction of hospitals, universities, schools and entire neighbourhoods. Occupation forces yesterday launched a ground invasion into Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah, where 1.5 million Palestinians have taken refuge.

The Oxford and Cambridge encampments call for “an immediate end to their universities’ complicity in Israel’s ongoing genocide, occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine.”

In a joint statement, the newly-formed coalitions Oxford Action for Palestine (OA4P) and Cambridge for Palestine (C4P) said: “From Columbia to UCLA, from Trinity College to Sciences Po, from Newcastle to Goldsmiths, over 100 universities across the globe have now taken bold and urgent action for Palestine. As members of these institutions, we refuse to accept our universities’ complicity in Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinian people – and we refuse to stand by while they justify Israel’s campaign of mass slaughter, starvation, and displacement.”

READ: Protest held outside University College London in solidarity with Gaza

“Our universities’ wealth and prestige stem directly from their role in the British empire and its disastrous colonial legacies, including the Oxford and Cambridge men who authored the Balfour Declaration in 1917, ceding Palestinian land to the Zionist settler-colonial project. In 2024, these universities may claim to be confronting their role in historic colonial violence – but their words ring hollow while they lend financial and moral support to Israel’s genocide, occupation, and ongoing colonisation of Palestine,” they added

Calling on their universities to divest from companies which are complicit in Israel’s genocide in Gaza, they continued: “Oxbridge’s profits cannot continue to climb at the expense of Palestinian lives, and their reputations must no longer be built on the white-washing of Israeli crimes.”