In response to the humanitarian concerns that have developed out of the Israel-Gaza War, students walked of class to show international solidarity with the Palestinians and criticize UWT’s complicity.
On October 25, students walked out of class to protest Israel’s siege of Gaza. Participants gathered below the main stairs carrying Pro-Palestine signs with messages such as “End the occupation. Free Palestine” and “Stop the US war machine.”
On October 7, Hamas, a militant group and political authority in Gaza, launched an attack on Israel, killing over 1,000 civilians. In retaliation, Israel has conducted military operations in and around the Gaza strip. Israel also cut off supplies such as water and electricity to the roughly 2 million people living in Gaza. As of October 26, the official death toll of Palestinians and Israelis is over 9,000 people, with another 1.5 million displaced. A majority of those displaced are Palestinians in Gaza.
Amid these humanitarian concerns, students and activists engaged in chants, speeches and conversation to show support for Palestine. Participants also expressed discontentment with Israel’s policies towards Gaza and the West Bank over the last century.
“There is only one solution, Intifada Revolution,” said attendees in unison. Intifada is an Arabic word used to refer to Palestinian revolution in the West Bank and Gaza.
Throughout the walkout, students, faculty and community members spoke on international solidarity with Palestine and called the university to action.
“We want to apply pressure on the UW campus,” said Claudia, a community member who helped organize the event. “A lot of these institutions are complicit directly in what’s happening through their partnerships with weapons manufacturers like Boeing”.
Throughout the event, many speakers expressed a desire for the university to cut ties with Boeing, while also suggesting other courses of action such as lobbying in Olympia or contacting local legislators.
“We can get UW to divest from Boeing, but it’s not enough,” said Gordon Barnes, professor at UWT. “What will stop the bombs is worker action against Zionist terror.”
Students joined the event throughout its duration.
“I was just walking past, got out of class, and I saw people protesting. Making their claim on the situations that’s happening right now in Palestine-Israel,” said Warfa Mohamed, a student at UWT. “How it looks right now is that people are opening their eyes and seeing that the Western media is portraying Palestine and Hamas as terrorist groups. But for 75 years Palestine has been pushed away and suffocated by the Israel government.”
It is unlikely the conflict with come to a conclusion soon due to tensions between surrounding states and the urban landscape of Gaza, according to the Institute for the Study of War.