The university community pressures to break relations with Israel for “the lives” of its colleagues in Gaza

The university community pressures to break relations with Israel for "the lives" of its colleagues in Gaza

Minutes before nine in the morning, professors and workers from the Polytechnic University of Madrid have gathered in front of the Rectorate building, along with some students, accompanied by Palestinian flags, kufiyas and banners in reference to the massacre in Gaza . We are ashamed that our UPM authorities remain impassive.” or “for the end of genocide and apartheid,” could be read on some posters. Attendees also carried banners remembering the names of teachers and students murdered in the Strip.

“This act is, first of all, a tribute to the staff who have died in the universities,” one of the academics present at the event tells This Friday’s rally, organized through the University Network for Palestine, which brings together staff from seven universities in the region and more than forty throughout the country, denounces the passivity of these centers in the face of the genocide of the Palestinian people. They thus join the protests and encampments of Spanish students that have spread throughout the country in recent months.

In parallel to the concentration, the UPM faculty, its highest presentation body, was convened, which had not included in the agenda how the commitments of the Conference of Spanish Rectors will be implemented, due to lack of signatures and due to the rector’s refusal: “It is the only public university in Madrid that is not taking measures and is not negotiating with the students. They have left the talks and they say that they are not going to do anything, arguing that they have no legal obligation and because it could have economic implications if an agreement is broken, but we want them to know that the lives of our colleagues in Gaza are at risk. on top of economic issues,” this professor continued to explain: “We experience what is happening in Gaza with infinite concern and pain. There are hundreds and hundreds of deaths, we have more than 300 signatures condemning, but the coldness of the government bodies hurts us.”

“The Polytechnic University has been the most reluctant to sit down and talk to us and put an agreement on the table. They are also the ones who can have the most economic consequences when breaking relations with Israel, that is why it is important to apply pressure,” a group of students from different Madrid universities, organized through the Interuniversity Camp, explains to this medium. They assure that, although the tents on the Complutense campus have been raised, they are still mobilized: “We have transformed, but not paralyzed. In these months we have achieved things, but less than we expected, so now what we are seeing is the best way to continue.”

Another UNED professor, who has come in solidarity with the Polytechnic teachers, asks her faculty to condemn the genocide and to review the agreements with Semitic institutions and for this distance university to think about how it can collaborate with the Palestinian centers, “now “That by having an online modality it can offer technology and help to students, as was done with Ukraine.”

Kaled Abushad, Gazan professor: “There is no safe place in Gaza, there is nowhere to flee”

Kaled Abushad is a professor at the University of Gaza, who recently settled in Spain, where he arrived as a guest professor after having completed his doctorate a few years ago at the Complutense University. Part of his family survives in his country, although he knows that some of his members have been victims of the firefighters, as have many of his former classmates from the university in Gaza. It is estimated that more than 4,000 teachers and students have died since October 7, a figure recalled by the banners carried by the dozens of protesters who joined the protest in front of the Rectorate building throughout the morning.

“More than 100,000 students are on the streets without receiving an education, in very harsh conditions. For a week we have been trying to teach online, but there is almost no internet access. It is the only thing we can do,” she told the rest of the attendees. He believes that with his story you can understand the trauma that his people are going through. Although he is now fighting to obtain refugee status in our country, he is originally from Kan Jounis, from where he had to move to the Gaza Strip and rebuild his home on up to five occasions, in places without electricity, bathroom or basic services. He says that in the Strip there is no room for happiness, he only thinks about surviving: “There is no safe place in Gaza, there is nowhere to flee.” He concluded his speech by thanking the pro-Palestinian movement, “which gives them hope to achieve peace.”

Immediately afterwards, a representative of the University Network for Palestine began to read the manifesto: “We ask the governing bodies of the UPM for a clear and explicit condemnation of the deliberate destruction of Gazan universities and the attacks on teachers, students and university staff. “, he began by saying, to continue adding other demands: “We also ask for an allocation of economic and human resources for the reception and protection of these people and for the reconstruction of the universities in Gaza and for the recovery of their teaching programs.” .

In the manifesto, they have also asked that the UPM’s collaboration agreements with Israeli universities and research centers that have not expressed a firm commitment to peace and compliance with international law be reviewed and, where appropriate, suspended, as well as with Spanish or foreign companies and banks that contribute to the occupation. On the other hand, they ask the Government of Spain to support the processes underway before the International Criminal Court, as well as the suspension of arms supplies and commercial relations with Israel and the suspension of Israel’s participation in any sporting or cultural event. international.

More than half a year of mobilizations

This Friday, the teachers of the Polytechnic of Madrid have continued with the example of those of the Complutense, who at the end of May gathered in support of the Palestinian people in front of their governing institution, remembering the bombings of universities and educational centers, and the murder of thousands of teachers and students.

The epicenter of this university movement was in the camps in the United States, which ended up spreading to other cities such as Paris, the Mexican capital, or Valencia, one of the first Spanish universities to carry out actions. After them, some such as Salamanca, Oviedo, Granada or the Complutense of Madrid joined in, where until a few days ago the largest camping trip held in Spain to date remained. As in Valencia or Barcelona, ​​the organizers decided to put up their tents and continue with decentralized protest acts like the one organized this Friday.

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