Student protestors demand university cuts ties with Israel

As student encampment protests continue, solutions that satisfy both sides feel out of reach.

Since the attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, by Hamas, the conflict between Palestine and Israel has heavily escalated. Some are calling it a genocide on Palestinian people and has become a cause for not only those in the Middle East, but for university students in the western world and their communities alike. 

Students have taken to encamping at universities, including UW Seattle to protest and demand schools cut ties with any organizations supporting Israel, as they see them as the aggressor in the conflict. 

“We set up a liberation zone because we believe our demands can be met,” said Tasbeet, a member of the United Front of Policy and Liberation at UW Seattle. “This is not a new process, and we’re not leaving until our demands are met. It has been done in the past.” 

A group of pro-Palestinian students have met with administration almost daily, including going to the Board of Regents meeting to keep the conversation going. However, some protestors feel the school is trying to wait them out. 

Over the last week, I’ve been going through news footage and have seen the anger and frustration that this conflict can cause. But from what I’ve seen, I see a war even though there are some who would disagree with me. 

Whether you call it genocide or war, it is very clear that something horrible is happening and people are losing their lives. 

When I went to the encampment at UW Seattle, I asked a protestor about their thoughts on the Jewish state and the response was, “the entire existence of Israel is illegitimate because it is a settler colonial state.” 

I am not trying to vilify anyone, but this response was clear to me. Then I started thinking about whether Israel would give up their stake on the land and I’m sure the answer would be no. 

It was hard not to look at the history surrounding this conflict, but my focus was drawn to the students wanting an end. The protest had not only current students but previous alumni and even veterans joining in the effort. 

In my opinion, the real solution is a two-state deal, so Palestinians and Israelis both get a chance of living in peace in their respective countries. Sadly, this conflict is not an easy one to solve. 

Students that were willing to speak with me told me they were tired of this conflict being looked at as some religious war and wanted to look at it through a humanitarian lense, and hoped that UW and the world would do the same. 

The visible voices of the many at UW Seattle Encampment written on the walkway in the Quad. Photo by Jamenson Aleman.

‘Featured image’ UW Seattle’s encampment. Photo by Jamenson Aleman.