Over 70 students and supporters gathered Tuesday afternoon by the Memorial Union to speak about the wall separating Palestine and Israel.
The event was hosted by the Students for Justice in Palestine, with speaker Schachaf Palokow, from Anarchist Against the Wall – a human rights organization dedicated to supporting popular Palestinian resistance to the Israeli separation wall. He is a pro-Palestinian activist living in Israel.
“The speaker is against the separation wall that is being built on the West Bank,” said Isam Hararah, senior biological engineering major and president of SJP. “It’s keeping families away from their own relatives, farmers away from their farms. It cuts whole Palestinian villages from each other.… It’s a strategy to keep people away.”
Supporters of Israel stood behind the Palestinian supporters, draped in Israeli flags, passing out literature that encouraged a pro-Israel stance on the issue.
“We’re here for our fellow students to make sure they don’t receive a one-sided viewpoint on such a multi-faceted issue,” said Aaron Sherman, junior international relations major who studied abroad in Israel in 2006. “The issue has a lot of history behind it – you can’t sum it up in a one-hour demonstration. It requires an open mind and a willingness to understand and speak the truth.“
Palestinians call the boundary located on the disputed land between Israel and the West Bank “the apartheid wall.” By contrast, Israelis refer to it as a “security fence.“
“I’m not here to talk about a solution. I hope that people today get more involved in a small way – either through getting information through the Internet, literature and such,” Palokow said.
Palokow is touring throughout the U.S. and Canada and will be speaking in Sacramento and Berkeley in the following days.