Whoopsie daisy: Settler gets snagged doing something dumb

This comes straight out of Al-Khalil where Shadi Sidr, a Palestinian homeowner and volunteer for Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, filmed a settler scale the wall of his building only to get caught on barbed wire.

Earlier this year, on March 14, an unidentified settler from a nearby Jewish-only apartment complex demanded Sidr remove the two Palestinian flags waving from flagpoles on his roof.

Sidr and the breathless settler conversed for a bit. The settler demanded Sidr remove the flags because “this whole country is the Land of Israel,” but Sidr refused.

“What is Palestine?” asked the snagged settler.

Meanwhile, settlers from surrounding blocks gathered to witness the scene. They jeered Sidr. One flipped him the bird. [Read more...]

Photo of the Week: Grabbing the occupation by the shoulders

Photo credit: Yotam Ronen
Date taken: March 30, 2014
Location: Old City, Jerusalem, West Bank, Palestine

A Palestinian protestor stands up to an Israeli border police officer during a Land Day demonstration at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City. [Read more...]

I apologize, I am sorry

Guest contribution by Nadine Darwish

Dear USGA Senate at Loyola,

I am sorry.

I am sorry for bringing divestment to your table in the first place, let alone three times.

I am sorry for not remembering that advocating for human rights for Palestinians is controversial and makes people feel sad and uncomfortable.

I am sorry for having faith in you to override Pedro’s veto after you voted twice in favor of the resolution.

I am sorry that you missed an opportunity to stand on the right side of history and fulfill your duty as senators in making sure that our university contributes to the advancement of justice.

I am sorry that you sat there and looked in the faces of Palestinians who worked tirelessly on this resolution and essentially told them their existence is controversial and thus should be swept under the table. [Read more...]

The Mourning of the University of the Martyrs

Guest contribution by Hasheemah Afaneh

A moment of silence overcame everyone standing in the square in front of the student council as chanting students carried Saji Darwish’s body through the streets of Birzeit University. It was silence filled with grief, hurt, anger, and questions of why, why, why… and it was this helpless moment that had me toss and turn last night. Sobs, silent cries, and zaghareed gave life to that moment of silence that cast everyone under its spell until Saji’s body reached the main university gate to go back to his family one last time.

The night before, social media “noisemakers” (i.e. posts) made noise about how Saji Darwish, a sophomore at Birzeit University studying media, was shot and killed by Israeli forces while walking with his family’s cattle. Birzeit University’s student council made an announcement to cancel all classes and call on everyone to join together to pay their respects to Saji on campus and then in Beitin, Saji’s hometown.

Clouds filled the bright blue sky as students filled the square and the streets surrounding it. Saji would never see the sight of the blue sky and his fellow students again. Shortly after, the president of the university, deans, and professors came to join. I looked around at the professors, many of whom have been teaching at Birzeit University for years now, and wondered what they were thinking. Were they thinking of their loved ones as was I? Were they thinking of how matters are getting worse? Were they thinking of the peace negotiations that seem to give more violence than peace? Were they thinking ‘may God give patience to his family’? Were they thinking of the martyrs’ monument on campus listing some of the names of students that were killed in the First Intifada, giving Birzeit the name of University of the Martyrs? [Read more...]

Israel to stop offering end to occupation after five unsuccessful tries

ANN ARBOR, MICH. — After five unsuccessful attempts at ending the occupation, Israel will no longer be offering peace deals to Palestinians.

Israel’s decision came a few hours after comments made by a University of Michigan professor shed light on one of the Middle East’s most complicated issues late Tuesday evening.

“Few may know this but Israel has attempted to put an end to the occupation five separate times. It’s the Palestinians who rejected each of the offers,” spoke Dr. V. Lieberman.

The revelation came as a surprise to many, especially to those who have experienced the toll of the long-running conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

[Read more...]

Cowardice: Crushing a human rights movement in Times New Roman font

Despite passing the same divestment resolution on two separate occasions this month, Loyola University Chicago’s Unified Student Government Association (USGA) has vetoed the bill.

USGA President Pedro Guerrero elected to veto the measure the day after the revote on the basis that “diversity of thought on campus was not taken into consideration.” His statement comes after two separate hearings consisting of many hours of discussion and debate between supporters and opponents of the resolution, as well as the presentation of a petition signed by well over 1,000 undergraduate students. [Read more...]

Second vote sees success for divestment campaign at Loyola University Chicago

Last updated 2:21 AM CST, Mar. 27

UPDATE: Student government president Pedro Guerrero has vetoed the resolution. Read about our coverage and Loyola SJP’s statement.

Loyola University Chicago’s student senate has passed a divestment resolution for the second time Tuesday evening.

Twelve senators voted in favor of the divestment bill, ten voted against, and nine abstained.

One week ago, campus group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) introduced a bill that urged the university to divest from corporations profiting from Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories. (Read our coverage here.)

The resolution initially passed on Mar. 18 with 26 student government senators voting in favor of the bill, zero voting against, and two choosing to abstain.

However, students opposed to the divestment measure pressured the student government into reconsidering the senate’s decision on the bill. A hearing, to be followed by a revote, was promptly scheduled for the following Tuesday, Mar. 25.

The second vote was preceded by almost five hours of discussion and debate. Campus police were stationed at all possible entrances into the discussion room and attendees were requested to turn off their WiFi connections and to shut down their electronics, including phones and laptops.

The tense atmosphere culminated with the final vote shortly before 9 p.m. The results of the revote mark the second time SJP’s proposed bill has been passed by the student senate.

The divestment bill must be passed by another branch of the student government before it can be put into effect.

This article will be updated as more information is made available.

Divestment passes at Loyola University Chicago

Last updated 9:13 PM CST, Mar. 25

Loyola University Chicago’s student senate passed a resolution Tuesday evening to divest from corporations profiting from Israel’s occupation.

The resolution, introduced by Loyola’s Students for Justice in Palestine, passed by a landslide vote, with 26 student senators voting in favor, none voting against, and two choosing to abstain.

However, following pressure from select students, the resolution was faced with a revote the following week, which it also passed. (Read the full account here.)

The resolution urges the university administration to withdraw investments from eight corporations complicit in Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, including Caterpillar, SodaStream, Veolia, and Hewlett-Packard.

The divestment resolution itself faced no opposition, according to students and community members present at the hearing. The only major hurdle faced by student organizers was a proposed amendment to edit the formatting and visual layout of the resolution. The content was not changed.

This evening’s turn of events makes Loyola University Chicago the first Catholic university and the first university from the state of Illinois to pass divestment.

Loyola’s divestment success is one of three divestment hearings that occurred simultaneously across the nation.

At the University of Michigan, the Central Student Government voted to “table, indefinitely” a divestment bill presented by student representatives of campus group Students Allied for Freedom and Equality. Over one hundred students and supporters in attendance began to chant in protest of the student government’s decision.

In Phoenix, AZ, Students for Justice in Palestine at the Arizona State University also introduced a divestment bill for a first-read. It, too, was tabled indefinitely, but student organizers intend to present the resolution for a vote on April 1.

It is worth noting that no resolutions were rejected this evening.

This article will be updated as more information is made available.

Rachel Corrie’s Inspiration Lives on Eleven Years Later

Guest contribution by Manar Mohammad

“We have got to understand that people in third world countries think and care and smile and cry just like us.

“We have got to understand that they dream our dreams and we dream theirs.

“We have got to understand that they are us. We are them.”

This is a short part of a speech that Rachel Corrie, then a mere ten years old, wrote for her school’s Fifth Grade Press Conference on World Hunger. (Watch the video here.) Back then, Rachel had only peeled back the curtain enough to reveal what she had inside of her. She grew up as a passionate and thoughtful child, questioning the world and writing about these thoughts in countless journals, as if one day these writings would speak back to her and give her the answers she needed. She did not know how to help, only that she wanted to, until she was a college student and joined the International Solidarity Movement in Gaza. [Read more...]

Columbia U swiftly pulls plug on freedom of speech in response to pro-Palestine activism

Want to know something frighteningly messed up? When students of color raise concerns over hostile and xenophobic campus atmospheres, when victims of sexual assault question their university’s lackadaisical response, and when statisticians reveal that schools aren’t graduating nearly as many Black students as they admit, a university administrator might throw out a line or two to satisfy reporters before burying the issue.

But then comes along a banner that can singlehandedly mobilize an entire university administration to find time to meet, reexamine longstanding school policies, and individually respond to complaints.

Welcome to the American college system, where requests for clean bathrooms, longer library hours, and more affordable textbook pricing are met with silence, and where you will receive a prompt and personal email reply from a university President if you complain about, say, a sign that says “Stand for Justice, Stand for Palestine”.

Which, of course, is what happened at Columbia University’s Barnard College on Tuesday. [Read more...]

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