Guest Opinion: Justice Delayed

By failing to pass SR #20 in a 5-5-3 vote, the ASUCD Senate has given the University of California’s decision to invest in the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine a stamp of approval. With the final senate vote tied at 5-5-2, the tie-breaking vote was given to ASUCD Vice President Maxwell Kappes, who abstained, which was effectively the vote that killed the resolution. Therefore, the University will continue to invest in companies that profit from the demolition of Palestinian-civilian structures, the ongoing Israeli settlement and colonization of Palestinian land, the detention and torture of Palestinian political prisoners and the construction of the apartheid wall that runs through occupied Palestinian territory without condemnation or pressure from ASUCD.

The crimes mentioned in the failed resolution are indisputable. Proponents cited United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, the Fourth Geneva Convention, the International Court of Justice, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International; all of which conclude that these companies are currently violating the human rights enshrined in international law. Because those who opposed the resolution could not dispute these violations, they instead attempted to justify them by claiming that Israel’s security needs warranted the brutalization and disenfranchisement of the Palestinian people. This argument is incorrect, dehumanizing and offensive. The occupation does not increase the security of Israelis, and Israel has no right to suppress the Palestinians’ right to self-determination.

When a similar resolution was proposed last year, the opposition claimed such a resolution did not have popular support. This year, when the support of on-campus clubs and organizations was overwhelming, the opposition emotionally argued that the resolution would marginalize a group of UC Davis students. What the opposition failed to realize is that because the University already invests in companies participating in this illegal and vicious occupation, Palestinian students, who are forced to be party to these violations, are already marginalized on this campus. While the feelings of some Israeli and Jewish students on this campus might have been wounded by the passage of SR20, they have never felt — and will likely never feel — the marginalization that comes with being a part of an institution whose funds are directly dedicated to the destruction of their people.

The outcome of this vote implicitly suggests that ASUCD cares more about the feelings of pro-Israeli students than it cares about the feelings of Palestinian students, the feelings of those students that stand in solidarity with the oppressed, the application of human rights or corporate accountability. Furthermore, the message understood by this vote is that the tears of the anti-divestment community are worth more than Palestinian blood.

SR20 was written with the knowledge that, as UC Davis students and community members, we are complicit in Palestinian suffering. We cannot, in good faith, continue to let our funds be used in such a way. We are determined to seek justice. Throughout the weeks leading up to this campaign we have received an immense amount of support. We are encouraged by the solidarity from on campus, around the country and around the globe. We thank those, including the five ASUCD senators that voted “yes,” who have continued to support us in this endeavor, and have continued to support the ambitions of the Palestinian people. We will not rest until this University divests from the crimes committed against the Palestinians. We will not cease our efforts until the Palestinians are given the same dignity and respect that all human beings deserve.

Sincerely,

Diyala Shihadih, President of Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Davis

Saleem Shehadeh

Neda Awwad

Kabir Kapur

Hiba Saeed

Evan W. Sandlin

Edina Metovic

Susan Alkadri

Tory Webster

Salman Aloraifi

Usamah Simjee

Samim Saadat

Ahmad Saleh

Hala Baig

Nivan Khair

Gizem Başar

Omar Awad

 

4 Comments

  • Concernedalum
    May 20, 2014

    Fair enough. But what are the choices? Build a higher wall? The way forward would seem to involve forging a shared sense of understanding, respect and ultimately trust. My point is that this debate has helped to promote a broader understanding among many who might not otherwise have reason to think about it at all.

  • ml1999
    May 20, 2014

    You argue one side of the debate. For example, “the construction of the apartheid wall” prevents hundreds of Israeli citizens from being killed and maimed from Palestinian attacks every year. Yet Palestine continues to fire rockets and pinpricks into Israel, who then, eventually, reacts with greater force. It continues on and on. Wikipedia lists 24 rocket attacks launched into Israel in just 2014.

    Do these stances sound like a people who want peace? From the PLO Charter:

    “Article 9: Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine.”
    “Article 10: Commando action constitutes the nucleus of the Palestinian popular liberation war.

    Even Bill Clinton said that PLO leader Arafat got 97% of what he wanted, but was unable to move from revolutionary to peacemaker. Arafat also stold billions that were meant to help his people: ““The Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, received the strongest challenge yet from a protege when Mohammad Dahlan, a former interior minister, accused him of squandering $5bn (£2.74) and “sitting on the corpses” of Palestinians. “

    • Gomzie07
      May 21, 2014

      There is no ‘one side’ of the debate. Please do not insult the intelligence of people. Israel is a “colonizing” power in Palestine. Palestinians in West Bank, Gaza, and E.Jerusalem are physically colonized by Israel. THIS is the ‘core’ of the matter.

      The wall is an apartheid wall because it is built on Palestinian land and it restricts Palestinians access to markets, freedom of movement and so on. Take for example our own country. Now what if 21st century United States invades Mexico, takes over Mexican territory, and builds a wall ON occupied/colonized Mexican territory and say “Oh well, this is just for security reasons you know. Mexicans fight us back since we took over their country and colonized them”…

      Would this logic make sense to you? I hope not. Similarly, your logic for justifying Israeli colonization doesn’t make any sense at all.

      If Israel stops its colonization…physical/classical European-style colonization…of Palestinian peoples–then there will be peace. The biggest hindrance to peace is Israeli colonization–and even YOU know it!

  • Concernedalum
    May 20, 2014

    Bravo to all those who pushed for SR20 and brought this important debate to campus. Of all the reasons to oppose the resolution the one that is perhaps the most insidious is “it would divide our campus community”. When the ignorance and inertia of a society has got something – anything – badly wrong, just change has got to begin somewhere. And when confronted with a seemingly immovable unjust obstacle, it’s our individual and collective responsibility to expose and undermine its foundation one pebble at a time until that obstacle rolls away under its own weight.

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