Los Angeles – Students for Justice in Palestine of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) presented a four day educational program that illustrated the plight of Palestinians under Israeli occupation of the West Bank, under siege in Gaza, and living with apartheid in Israel. This was part of a national event titled Palestine Awareness Week. The presentations over the period consisted of speakers well versed in the subject of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, native art and music, and, the true cornerstone of the event, a simulated checkpoint set up on the main campus thoroughfare.
Speakers included Max Blumenthal and Miko Peled in Jewish Voices for Palestine. Blumenthal is a writer and speaker. His latest book is: “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel”. Peled is the son of an Israeli general and was a part of the Israeli Defense Forces until the 1982 conflict in Lebanon propelled him into becoming a peace activist.
The simulated checkpoint was partially surrounded by what appeared to be sections of a wall with writings on both sides cataloging the injustices inflicted by Israel on the Palestinian people. The various scripts on the wall reminded the viewer of the three major Israeli aggressions: in 2008, 2012, and 2014. Fatalities and serious injuries that disproportionately affected children were also a focal point of the model. Further, the replica of the Israeli checkpoint reflected the present reality that Palestinians have lost access to farmland, medical care, education, and community cohesion. Currently in the region, Jewish busses lead to Jewish-only settlements and they are permitted the use of 80 percent of the water, pointing to a hierarchical and privileged use of resources.
Furthermore, unique automobile license plates are assigned to Israeli and Palestinian is additional evidence of the division. Israeli restrictions make it difficult, if not impossible, for Palestinian Muslims and Christians to attend their places of worship with this identification marker.
Sections from the model of the checkpoint also presented UC school’s partnerships with various companies that benefit from a relationship with Israel. Amongst them are Hewlett-Packard, General Electric, and Caterpillar. Students were encouraged to speak out against these associations with UCLA and work for divestment.
The United States has given more money to Israel than to any other nation and uses its veto power to protect Israel from United Nations resolutions aimed at Israeli crimes. Further, the privileged Israeli settlements are violating the protocols of the fourth Geneva Convention.
Students for Justice in Palestine was founded in 1993 on the campus of University of California, Berkeley. There are now over 80 chapters, in some cases under different names, in the United States, Canada, and New Zealand. SJP works in solidarity with the Palestinian people and is dedicated to the Palestinian right of self determination.
To contact SJP at UCLA campus, please use the following e mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org