SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine)

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Students for Justice in Palestine
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Meeting Information
Place: Merrill Living Room
Time: Tuesday 5:00 pm
Contact Information
Email: [email protected]
Signer Information
Signer 1: Jenna Bitar [1]
Signer 2: Melanie Kates [2]
Signer 3: Alex Van Leer [3]
Signer Resources
Group Account Number: 642
Submit a Funding Request
Funding Request Decisions
Student Group Signer Manual

Our mission as members of Students for a Justice in Palestine at Hampshire College is to raise awareness of the oppression and vast suffering of the Palestinian people under the Israeli occupation. We are also in support of a divestment plan and strongly support the co-existence of Jewish and Arab peoples. We do not support and in no way encourage the use of violence as any form of solution. Overall, we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people throughout the world and will continue to strive for their rights to life.


Institutional Statement

The main Article and its endorsers!

During the semester of fall 2007 SJP decided to embrace a campaign calling for Hampshire to make an institutional statement to end the occupation of Palestine. We agreed an institution like Hampshire, with a rich history of resistance to unjust wars and oppression in various fronts as well as a radical curriculum, should take an official stand against the ongoing oppression of the Palestinian People.

History of SJP

Fall Semester 2006

  •  SJP is officially established by Aryenish Vegan Birdie, Julian Padilla and Seth Wesler–group remains mostly inactive–but SJP sponsors an event titled “Three Women of  Jerusalem”

Spring Semester 2007

  •  Group begins to host weekly film screenings, and organizes a few facilitated discussion
  •  Critical mass to the town of Amherst coordinated with women in black, and UMASS Campus Anti-War Network.
  •  Mariam Said comes to show movie about the divan orchestra.
  •  Screening of the movie Arna’s Children with a discussion led by director Juliano Mer Khamis.

Fall Semester 2007

  •  November to early December we began drafting the Institutional Statement
  •  Anarchist Against the Wall members come to speak at Hampshire College
  •  Mock apartheid wall and exhibit constructed and erected for the first time
  •  Two women activists, one an Israeli and one a Palestinian, come to speak against the occupation
  •  SJP’s Institutional Statement officially released to the community

Spring Semester 2008

  •  Demonstration in downtown Amherst in conjunction with Israeli Apartheid Week
  •  Film screening of “Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land” with talk by Sut Jhally
  •  SJP Begins to collect signatures on the second version of the statement.
  •  Hampshire Faculty Panel on Palestine, featuring Stephanie Levin, Omar Dahi, Sayres Rudy, Aaron Berman, and Ralph Hexter.
  •  Emergency candle light vigil and poetry reading on library lawn for over 120 in Gaza and 8 Israeli students in Jerusalem who lost their lives
  •  Dialogue with Jewish Community and members of Jewish Student Union and Union of Progressive Zionists, facilitated by Dean of Faculty Aaron Berman.
  •  SJP presents a divestment proposal to the Committee at Hampshire on Investment Responsibility (CHOIR) and demonstrated how the activities of six corporations in Palestine    violate Hampshire’s own policy on socially responsible investment.
  •  The day after the same presentation was given to the Board of Trustees by representatives of SJP
  •  CHOIR recommends divestment to the Board of Trustee

Fall Semester 2008

  •  Teach–in, in memory of Mahmud Darwish. SJP members Anas Maloul, Quincy Saul, Noam Bahat, Hannah Allen, Kanya d’Almeida, Jay Cassano, and Alex Cachinero-Gorman, give presentations about the history of the conflict, the current situation in the Occupied Territories, along with reading from Darwish’s poetry.
  •  Poets for Palestine. Palestinian poet Remi Kenazi reads poetry from a book of poetry he edited
  •  Mock apartheid wall for family and friends weekend
  •  Dialogue session held, cosponsored by SJP and Union for Progressive Zionists and moderated by students from both SJP and UPZ.
  •  Dr. Nancy Murray presented a talk an photo exhibition entitled “Apartheid: From South Africa to Israel-Palestine

January Semester 2009

  •  Meetings with Ralph on making statement condemning the offensive in Gaza
  •  Five College Protest from UMass to Amherst in solidarity with Gaza
  •  Open forum on SJP, Divestment, and the Occupation of Palestine.

The Occupation

Palestine, the homeland of the Palestinian People, is a small slice of land located off of the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Palestine is roughly 400 kilometers long and about 100 kilometers wide. Since the end of the 19th century, the Zionist Movement aspired to establish a Jewish state in Palestine; it is that aspiration that is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Throughout the first half of the 20th century those involved in the Zionist movement began to settle in Palestine, buying land from Palestinians. Near the end of WWI, Palestine was occupied by the British who sought to annex it to their empire. As Zionists continued to settle in Palestine, there were several periods of unrest and clashes between the Zionists settlers and the Palestinian population of Palestine.

The twentieth century was a very eventful era in the Palestinian history. At the start of the century, the Palestinians were part of the Ottoman Empire which ruled the entire region of the Middle East. As a result of the Ottoman defeat in World War I, Palestine fell under British colonization. At the time, 90 percent of the population of Palestine was Arab, and less than 10 percent were Jews. Following World War I, the League of Nations granted Britain a Mandate over Palestine. Part of the mandate was the Balfour Declaration which promised the Jews a national home in the land of Palestine. As such, the British mandate helped the Zionist movement bring Jewish immigrants to Palestine and establish the institutions of the future Jewish state. The Palestinian resistance to British policies and to Jewish immigration culminated in the 1936 Great Arab Revolt which demanded self-determination for the Palestinian people. In response to the Revolt, the British proposed to partition Palestine between the Palestinians and the Jews. The plan, which was approved in 1947 by the UN General Assembly Resolution 181, was rejected by both Arabs and Israelis.

On May 14, 1948 the Zionists proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel on the part of Palestine assigned to them by the partition plan, though they had already decided to expand the borders of their state in the war they were already anticipating. When the 1948 War broke out, about half of the area designated by the UN for a Palestinian state was conquered by Israel. In the course of the war, more than 750,000 Palestinians were expelled form their homes, while the Gaza Strip came under Egyptian rule, and the West Bank was annexed to Jordan. Between 1948 and 1967, the Palestinian conflict with Israel became part of a larger Arab conflict, and the Arab States assumed the responsibility of liberating Palestine of Zionist colonization.

Death Toll

Statistics related to Al Aqsa Intifada: 29 September, 2000- updated 27 August, 2008
Death and Injuries during the Al Aqsa Intifada:

• 3727 Palestinians Civilians have been killed by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) forces in the OPT.
• A further 1114 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in armed clashes in the OPT.
• 12261 Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the Intifada.
• 13750 Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in the West Bank territory since the beginning of the Intifada.
Breakdown of deaths by specific groups:

  Groups Number killed Percentage of total deaths
  Children    848       22%
  Women    163        4%
  Medical  personnel     26      0.7%
Journalists    11     0.34%

In addition, six internationals have been killed in the OPT[1]

Palestinian Civilians killed during Al Aqsa Intifada:

Location Number As percentage of total killed in that location
West Bank   1676         46%
Gaza Strip   2051         54%

Israeli Assassinations:

Fatalities Total Killed
Targeted persons       510
Non-targeted civilians       229
Total       739

House Demolitions in the Gaza Strip:
• Number of Palestinians whose house were totally demolished: 2958
• Number of Palestinians whose houses were partially demolished: 2909
House Demolitions by district in the Gaza Stri:

District Number of houses completely dimolished Number of houses partially demolished
Northern Gaza Strip       360      1136
Gaza City       200       376
Central Gaza Strip      183       215
Khan Yunis      695       423
Rafah     1558      1114
Total     2996      3264

Land Leveling in the Gaza Strip[2] 40485 Donoms[3]

[1] Number of internationals killed not included in total
[2] Approximately 13% of Gaza’s agricultural land has been leveled since the beginning of Al Aqsa Intifada
[3] 1 donum is equal to 1000 square metres

Palestinian Prisoners

There are more than 11,500 Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails. These Palestinian prisoners are distributed between five detention centers, four interrogation centers, and twenty central prisons. Of those prisoners, there are 850 administrative detainees, that is, they have no charge against them, and the number includes ten children. The Israelis have another 350 Palestinian prisoners who are under the age of 18 and 191 women, one whom is 16 years old. Also, of those imprisoned, there are more than 900 who suffer illness, 500 of which need immediate treatment. 191 Palestinians have died inside of Israel prisons since 1967 as a result of torture and medical neglect.

Facts About the Wall

In 2002, Israel began the construction of a separation barrier around the the West Bank. The wall consists of a series of 25-foot high concrete walls, trenches, barbed wire “buffer zones,” electrified fencing with numerous watch towers, electronic sensors, thermal imaging video cameras, sniper towers and roads for patrol vehicles. The wall extends over 790 km and costs approximately $3.7 million per kilometer.

The wall was not built on the Green Line, which marks the division between Israel and Palestine land that is occupied from the 1967 war. Actually, 80% of the wall was constructed in the West Bank on land confiscated from Palestinians by the Israeli Military and 20% was built on the Green Line. No section of the wall was built on the Israeli side of the Green line.

More then 250 km of the West Bank’s most fertile land–approximately 15% of the West Bank agricultural land–has been confiscated to build the wall. Further, the wall has consolidated existing inequalities in access to water recourses between Israelis and Palestinians by annexing 70 percent of the total recharge area of the Western aquifer basin to Israel, together with 62 springs and 134 Palestinian wells.

The wall isolates some 60,500 Palestinians living in 42 villages and towns in closed military zone limbo between the wall and the Green Line. 12 villages with a total population of 31,400 Palestinians will be completely surrounded by the Wall.