Reuters estimated Jan. 17 that there have been 5,300 Palestinian casualties, including 1,300 deaths, in comparison to 500 Israeli casualties, including 13 deaths.

Students around the world and across the U.S. are standing in solidarity with Gaza to support the Palestinian victims of violence. 

“Their demands are reasonable and very, and I should emphasize, very humble,” pre-med junior Bissan Rafe Qasawari said. “What has been done to Gaza is a violation of human rights and basic integrity measures.” 

Recent sit-ins and occupations in New York, organized by student groups such as Take Back NYU! and Students for a Democratic Society, demand their universities give scholarships to Palestinian students.

The student protesters also request the institutions donate “excess supplies and materials” to help restore the education in Gaza. Included in the list of recipients are institutions such as the Islamic University of Gaza, one of the targets of Israeli air raids in December.

As a symbol of solidarity with the people of Gaza, events and protests were held in Europe last month. Students from 16 different universities across the U.K. occupied facilities, condemning “atrocities perpetrated by Israel in the Gaza Strip” and asking their universities to end their investments in “companies complicit in human rights abuses,” according to the Associated Press. 

“The Palestinian people are viewed as stateless citizens. They have less rights in other countries, which makes it very hard to cope with life anywhere,” Qasawari said.

Similar actions against injustice took place in front of the M.D. Anderson Library. The UH Muslim Student Association and the Houston Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine gathered Monday to raise awareness of the massive numbers of civilian deaths. They plan to gather again from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today

“We are here to honor the people that were killed in Gaza,” chemistry graduate student Kellie Abou-awad said. “Any time something like this happens, people need to know what’s going on.”

We should all stand with those whose schools have been completely destroyed and whose friends and professors have been murdered. Why aren’t we demanding our University for scholarships and more aid to the Palestinians? 

The least we could do is raise awareness by protesting against U.S. companies that manufacture weapons and profit from it. This is not the kind of help people in Israel or Afghanistan need. The situation in Gaza is a humanitarian crisis that needs peaceful investing initiatives.

Our tuition, the money that all of us pay to fund our “public” universities, could partially be provided by the billions of dollars that the U.S. government gives to the Israeli violence in the Middle East.

In an effort to end an arms embargo on Israel, the human rights group Amnesty International demands the UN to stop this “aid” from abroad. Also, Amnesty researchers found proof of Israeli munitions, which were made by Americans.

 “To a large extent, Israel’s military offensive in Gaza was carried out with weapons, munitions and military equipment supplied by the U.S.A. and paid for with U.S. taxpayers’ money,” Malcolm Smart, Amnesty’s Middle East director, said in a report.

In addition, the U.S. is to provide $30 billion in military aid to Israel under a 10-year agreement that runs until 2017, Amnesty said.

Perhaps this is a good time to ask ourselves if the University of Houston is, like many others, investing in corporations who could potentially profit from the war.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is an ongoing war dominated by military atrocities. Hundreds of militants and civilians are being murdered and the numbers keep increasing. Surely we can and should do something to ease their suffering.


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