Besieged Gaza, Occupied Palestine.
Date: Feb 21, 2016.
Dear McGill University students,
We, the Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI), representing the overwhelming majority of student blocs at Palestinian universities, salute and support the McGill BDS Action Network. We call on our peers at McGill University to vote “Yes” to the proposed divestment motion.
As students and youth in the besieged Gaza Strip, we experience Apartheid Israel’s atrocious crimes on a daily basis. Palestinians in Gaza have been subjugated to a brutal, medieval siege since 2007, during which Israel launched three wars in 2009, 2012 and 2014, in which L-3 Communications is complicit. The UN and leading human rights organizations have accused Israel of committing war crimes during these assaults.
Our universities and schools are bombarded by Israeli war airplanes, and the academic freedom of Palestinian scholars and students is severely restricted and denied due to the siege and denial of the freedom of movement. Israel has for decades systematically targeted Palestinian students, intellectuals and academic institutions. Israel’s recent military assault on Gaza in 2014 killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, including many students and young people, and injured over 10,895 people. Many university buildings, schools, and other educational institutions were also destroyed or partially damaged. Israel’s siege of Gaza makes it virtually impossible for students to continue their studies abroad or even in the West Bank.
We have only 8 hours of electricity a day, at best. Thus, investing in companies profiting from Israel’s multi-tiered system of oppression prolongs our ongoing plight in the occupied Palestinian territory and destroys any possibility of achieving freedom, justice and equality. The three companies targeted by the McGill motion are deeply complicit in Israel's violations of Palestinian basic rights under international law and conflict with the UN guidelines on business and human rights. We call for divestment from international corporations profiting from Israeli occupation, apartheid, and colonialism until our rights under international law are respected.
As the solidarity movement with the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa showed a few decades ago, boycott, divestment and sanctions measures initiated and promoted by faith groups, trade unions, academic associations, student movements, the arts world, among others, played a significant role in ending apartheid and the transformation to democracy.
In the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Israel’s brutal military occupation, colonial settlement enterprise and wall present grave problems for students and teachers, who face severe restrictions on their freedom of movement, arbitrary imprisonment and extrajudicial killings. Palestinian citizens of Israel face systematic and rampant racial discrimination in the Israeli education system, which is segregated and unequal. A critical report by Human Rights Watch in 2001 sheds light on this discrimination in Israel’s schools.
Supporting the Palestinian-led, global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for is one of the most important steps that student unions internationally can take to stand in solidarity with our struggle for freedom, justice and equality.
The nonviolent, anti-racist and inclusive BDS movement has already celebrated many victories against Israel’s regime of oppression and corporations that are complicit in perpetuating it and profiting from it.
Israel is only able to maintain its illegal regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid because of international support. Governments fail to hold Israel to account, and corporations and institutions across the world help Israel oppress Palestinians. International solidarity is therefore just as urgently needed now as it was during the struggle against South African apartheid.
Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI)
Posted on 22-02-2016