To the Stanford community and concerned individuals everywhere,
We, the members of Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), feel compelled to address the recent and ongoing injustices faced by the Palestinian people. As the world witnesses the atrocities committed in Palestine, it becomes increasingly clear that these events are not isolated incidents, but rather part of the protracted struggle against settler-colonial oppression.
On Saturday, as a part of the ongoing, decades-long struggle against Israeli oppression, Palestine forces attacked Israel. The media’s depiction of Saturday’s resistance as a one-off event is fundamentally reductionist: no conversation about Palestine can be conducted without the context of the decades of systematic oppression, discrimination and violence the Palestinian people have faced.
Israel currently places a “land, water and air” siege on the Gaza Strip. Regularly cutting off water and electricity, Israel vindictively rules and occupies the Gaza Strip. Israel also regularly forces Palestinian produce to spoil rather than allowing it to pass through checkpoints to where it can be sold. Israel’s choice to lay siege to Gaza has caused Gaza to become an “open-air prison,” a term being used by the Human Rights Watch. These conditions should provoke all of us to take action and fight for safety in the world.
We are embarrassed to live in a world that tolerates this level of consistent, systematic and unrelenting violence. The fact that people can be treated like this in the 21st century is a stain on our history.
Palestinians, like all peoples, have the legitimate right to resist occupation, apartheid and systemic injustice. Saturday’s events underscore the structural violence, displacement and daily hardships Palestinians have faced for decades under a regime that seeks to undermine their basic human rights and dignity. It is essential for us as an academic community and as global citizens to recognize the roots of this conflict. While it might be easy for some to view the issue as a distant geopolitical dispute, the reality is far simpler. Western media will hail the Ukrainians who defend their homeland as valiant heroes; however, there is a distinct double standard at play when it comes to the resistance of the Palestinian people against the settler colonialists of Israel.
Furthermore, while Palestinian resistance is legal under international law, Israel’s breathtakingly violent actions are illegal collective punishment under the Geneva Convention. For example, Israel’s destruction of Palestine Tower, a media and residential building, constitutes a war crime, since news and civilians are not legitimate military targets under U.N. law.
At its core, this message is about an oppressed population striving for equality, freedom and self-determination in the face of systemic subjugation. We are dismayed by the fact that institutions like Stanford, which proclaim values of justice, equality and human rights, continue to be entangled with companies and entities that directly or indirectly support the machinery of this oppression. Our association with such entities not only undermines our collective values but also tacitly condones the perpetuation of this injustice. Furthermore, between 2008 and 2020, Palestinians have endured 96% of the total casualties resulting from the conflict, demonstrating the one-sided nature of the situation.
We stand firmly with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, echoing their call for immediate action to cease all military, security and technological collaboration with those implicated in the ongoing colonization of Palestine. We also demand an end to any partnerships with companies that actively participate in the dispossession of Palestinians. We recognize the strength and resilience of the Palestinian people, who, despite facing overwhelming odds, continue to rise and assert their undeniable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Their resistance is not just a testament to their spirit but also a reminder of the universality of the human desire for justice and freedom. Injustice anywhere hurts all of us. The fact that Palestinians must endure such brutal conditions is an embarrassment to the modern human condition. The only thing that Israeli apartheid has succeeded in doing is creating violence and misery, which can be heard all around the world.
In solidarity with the Palestinian cause, we call upon the Stanford community and individuals everywhere to educate themselves, raise awareness and actively challenge complicity in this system of oppression.
Justice for Palestine is justice for all.
This article was written by Hamza El Boudali and other members of Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) leadership. SJP is a pro-Palestinian student activism organization.
The byline above has been updated to include Hamza El Boudali. A previous version of this article was attributed to SJP inconsistently with our anonymity policies. The Daily regrets this error.
This article has been updated to contextualize the events on Saturday, Oct. 7 referred to by the authors.