Palestinian student unions send greetings to NUS conference and urge support for BDS
19 April 2015 - We the undersigned Palestinian student unions and youth groups wish you a successful conference. We salute your struggle for a more democratic form of education - one that is based on the needs and aspirations of its student body and faculty, and not on the needs of corporate power. As students whose education and lives are shaped and impacted by living under an oppressive colonial and apartheid regime, we share your appreciation of the value of education.
Since its inception in 1948, the state of Israel has systematically targeted Palestinian students, intellectuals and academic institutions. Israel’s recent military assault on Gaza killed more than 2,168 Palestinians, including many students and young people, and injured over 10,895 people, and also destroyed many university buildings, schools, and other educational buildings. Israel’s siege of Gaza makes it virtually impossible for students to continue their studies abroad or in the West Bank.
In the West Bank, Israel’s brutal military occupation presents grave problems for students, who face severe restrictions on their freedom of movement and arbitrary imprisonment. Palestinian citizens of Israel face systematic discrimination in universities from their fellow students and from the university administration itself.
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 urgently needed.
Supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement 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.
Students in the UK, Palestine and around the world have long been at the forefront of the struggle for justice and liberation. In the 1970s and 1980s, the NUS took a principled position in support of boycotts and divestment against the apartheid regime in South Africa and helped to build the anti-apartheid movement.
It has been heartwarming to see the huge recent growth of support for BDS within the UK student movement. More than 25 student unions have voted to support BDS in recent years. The NUS Executive Committee, Black Students Campaign, Women’s Conference and Postgraduate Conference have all voted to support BDS tactics in recent months.
This support for BDS is increasingly being matched with successful campaigns that have pressured universities to drop contracts with companies such as G4S and Veolia that participate in Israel’s crimes against Palestinians. We look forward to working with you to build even more successful and visible boycott campaigns in the months to come.
We ask delegates at the NUS conference to continue to stand in support of our struggle. Your solidarity and support for BDS strengthens our ongoing resistance to Israel’s repressive, apartheid and colonial rule and our struggle for liberation.
The Secretariat of Students' Unions and Blocs - Gaza Strip
Palestinian Students' Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI)
Palestinian Youth Struggle Union
Herak Youth Centre
Fateh Youth and Student Movement
Alquds University Student Union
Hebron University Student Union
Al-Najah University Student Union
Birzeit University Student Union
Bethlehem University Student Union
Arab American University Student Union
Palestinian Students Liberation Front
Palestinian democratic Youth Union
Student's Struggle Block
Palestine Polytechnic University Student Union
Students Unions in Al-Quds Open University in the following branches: Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jericho, Ramallah, Nablus, Salfeet, Toubas, Qalqilia, Jenin, Toulkarem, Bedia, Doura, Yata, Biet Sahour, Alezarieh.