Protesters say wall between Israel, Palestine hinders movement, freedom of Palestinians
On March 5, members of Students for Justice in Palestine gathered on the Quad and constructed a mock “apartheid wall” to represent the wall separating Israeli and Palestinian land. Members of Students for a Democratic Society also participated.
“We want to highlight the daily struggles that Palestinians go through because of the wall: how it impedes their lives, restricts movement, restricts freedom and hinders any chance of peace in the region,” said ASUCD Senator Khadeja Ibrahim, a third-year political science major.
According to Ibrahim, this year the wall was also supposed to correlate with the Trump administration’s proposed wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
During the event, protesters voiced their disapproval of Israel’s actions and held signs with statements such as “Brick by Brick, Wall by Wall, Apartheid has got to fall,” “Make Israel Palestine Again” and “Justice is our Demand, Palestine is our Land.”
Around 40 to 50 students participated in the event.
The “apartheid wall” itself was constructed of individual panels propped up on the MU, facing the Quad. One panel stated: “Stop U.S. aid to Israel” and depicted an Israeli flag with bloody hand prints. Another had a quote from political activist Angela Davis: “Support BDS and Palestine will be free” — referring to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Several students spoke of their motivations behind protesting.
“As an anthropologist who researched Palestine and who was refused entrance into the country, I’ve observed first-hand how colonialism restricts academic research and believe academic boycott of Israel should be taken seriously,” said Muneeza Rizvi, a Ph.D. student in the Religious Studies Department .
Also present at the scene that day were representatives from Aggies for Israel, a student-run organization dedicated to preserving positive relations between the U.S. and Israel.
AFI members suggested an alternative view of the situation.
“I think they’re giving their side, which is fine, but they’re not giving both sides,” said Charline Delkhah, a fourth-year managerial economics major and the president of AFI. “They’re not willing to talk about both sides.”
This protest was a continuation of annual protests held by SJP on the matter. In 2010, SJP set up a similar mock “apartheid wall” at UC Davis.
Written by: Clara Zhao –– firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s note (updated 3/16/18 at 12:45 p.m.)
The article has been updated to clarify student motivations behind the protest.