LONDON: Students at universities across the UK and beyond have called on their institutions to divest from companies complicit in Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine.
The move coincided with Tuesday’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, and has also garnered support from students in the US.
It is part of the ongoing #Divest4Palestine student movement, which is a growing campaign on campuses globally, said pro-Palestinian NGO Friends of Al-Aqsa. The group is concerned with defending the human rights of Palestinians and protecting the Al-Aqsa Sanctuary in Jerusalem, considered sacred by Muslims.
“Students will ask their vice-chancellors to divest from four main companies, Rolls-Royce PLC, BAE Systems, Hewlett-Packard and Booking.com,” the UK-based organization said. “Some will also call for divestment from Samsung and HSBC.”
The FOA said Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems supply military equipment used by Israel to kill Palestinian civilians in Gaza. It added that Israel killed 17 Palestinian children in its most recent bombardment on Gaza in August, leading UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet to describe Israel’s actions as “unconscionable.”
BAE makes the drones and Rolls-Royce makes parts of the fighter planes used by Israel to attack Gaza, it also stated.
“It’s time to hold our vice-chancellor to account,” said Hannaa, a second-year student. “Our university’s investments must be ethical. Money from this institution should absolutely not contribute to the killing of fellow students in Gaza.”
Students will also call on their institutions to divest and cut all ties with HP and Booking.com, as it believes HP provides hardware for Israeli prisons and the Israeli police, and Booking.com advertises accommodation in illegal settlements on Palestinian land.
“Feeling the impacts of the ongoing global campaign to divest, Booking.com has lately started labelling accommodation in illegal Israeli settlements as existing on ‘occupied’ Palestinian land, but the online travel agency must go a step further and stop listing this accommodation entirely,” the FOA said.
Shamiul Joarder, head of public affairs at the FOA, said the “action shows the strength of support for Palestine on campuses.”
“Across the UK and beyond, students are demanding real change. They won’t accept their universities’ complicity in Israeli war crimes any longer.”