We, as students from the Palestine Solidarity Group, demand the University of Essex to cancel the invitation to the Israel’s Deputy Ambassador, who was invited by the Department of Government. We believe that such invitation does not only violate the values and ethics the University stands for, but it provides a platform to a state which breaches Human Rights and applies apartheid-like forms of racial discrimination against the Palestinians.
From the template of the South African Apartheid dismantling, we have taken the lesson to stand against racial discrimination and Human Rights violations everywhere around the world. According to Bishop and Nobel Prize winner Demond Tutu, Israel’s imposed apartheid on the Palestinians is far worse than it was under the South African Apartheid regime. It is worth remembering that during this period, in 1965, many British activists including important academics stood against the apartheid regime and in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. Many responsible institutions and individuals took an ethical stance and stood in solidarity with the people suffering under this regime. Today we celebrate the fact that South Africa was liberated from the apartheid system thanks to many who stood in solidarity with them. In the same way, we should respect the human rights of Palestinians and the take an ethical stance against the acts of the Israeli state, namely, the violation of the 4th Geneva Convention, Universal Human Rights and War Crimes committed against the Palestinians.
Today Israel is still occupying the West Bank ethnically cleansing the population by surrounding the Palestinian villages with the illegal construction of the wall, illegal Jewish settlements and military checkpoints separating Israelis and Palestinians from each other. The fragmentation and the creation of Bantustans and enclaves in the Occupied Palestinian Territories makes it impossible for the Palestinians to fulfil their rights to self-determination and sovereignty. As such, Israel is violating the 4th Geneva Convention, the Supreme Court’s decision to condemn the extension of the Apartheid wall in the OPT and Human Rights violations committed against the Palestinians. In Gaza, the illegal blockade against the Palestinians imposed by Israel have been referred to, according to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as a grave “collective punishment” imposed on over 1.8 million Gazans and has driven the strip into a “humanitarian crisis”. Given Israel’s atrocities we demand that the University of Essex does not provide a platform to war criminals and those who violate Human Rights against the Palestinians.
University of Essex Palestine Solidarity Group