Gaza Has No Remaining Universities

Every year in May, the entire United States holds graduation ceremonies. However, as antiwar protests have spread across U.S. university campuses in the eighth month of the Israel-Hamas conflict, some universities have canceled graduation ceremonies, and clashes have also occurred during the ceremonies due to surprise protests. The Associated Press reported on May 11 that approximately 2,900 people have been arrested at 57 universities since April. In April, at university campuses across the U.S., students began loudly demanding a ceasefire and an end to the war in Gaza. The students have insisted on boycotts of Israeli companies and of those supporting the Israeli army and have called for them to cut ties with Israeli universities.

Campus protests like this, first and most violently, took place at Columbia University in New York, where students set up campgrounds on campus with dozens of tents and demonstrated against U.S. business and political support of Israel. President Joe Biden reacted sensitively to the campus protests spreading across the U.S., criticizing the antiwar demonstrations by college students as non-peaceful and threatening protests. Looking at the relationship between each university administration and the U.S. presidential election, where Jewish campaign contributions have a large impact, the U.S. campus solidarity protest becomes more complicated because it goes beyond a mere antiwar protest and clashes with the infrastructure of American society.

These pro-Palestinian solidarity protests have now spread to the United Kingdom, Germany and South Korea. Protests have also popped up at Germany’s Free University of Berlin and in Europe, including Belgium and the U.K. We have seen violent resistance beyond the U.S. in Europe where people have formed human chains before they are arrested.

Recently, on the Seoul National University campus, the Palestinian solidarity club, “Watermelon,” began protesting.. Watermelon symbolizes resistance against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. From 1967 until 1993, the red, green, white and black of the Palestinian national flag was banned in Israel. So the watermelon, with colors similar to the Palestinian flag, is used as a symbol of Palestinian resistance. Korean and foreign students of the Watermelon club are participating in solidarity protests by setting up tents in front of the Jahayeon Pond on the Seoul National University campus. So why are younger generations all over the world calling for an end to the war, in solidarity with Palestinians? Students of the Watermelon club were awakened to the importance of sit-ins, saying, “To raise awareness of the need to end the genocide committed by Israel and the 76-year occupation by Israel, we’ve decided to join this huge movement.”

These worldwide solidarity protests are in tandem with Israel’s position of attacking Rafah. Israel is entering Rafah, the southernmost province of Gaza, where more than 1 million refugees have been displaced, intending to destroy Hamas completely. Currently because of negative public opinion at home and abroad, including in the U.S., Israel has not launched an all-out attack. “There are no remaining universities in Gaza,” was emphasized in bold letters on flyers handed out by the students of the Watermelon club. We must not be insensitive to the truth that for the last eight months, the Palestinian casualties have exceeded 30,000 people. I hope this global solidarity movement, however moderate, will give Palestinians hope.

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About Krystal Endo 12 Articles
Hello! My name is Krystal and I've been studying Korean for almost 10 years now. My Bachelors is in Linguistics, with a Minor in Korean and TESOL. I currently live with my husband, 2 cats and 2 snakes. I'm excited to translate for Watching America!

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