Heeding the Palestinian call for “the academic world to take urgent action to stop Israel’s genocide in Gaza,” SAWP makes the following demands:
We stand firmly with the Palestinian struggle for liberation and justice.
Scholars Against the War in Palestine (SAWP) aims to unite the academic sector in a transnational cross-disciplinary coalition by heeding the Palestinian call from higher educational institutions and PACBI urging academics across the world to take action to stop the current Israeli war on Palestinians in Gaza. Leading lawyers, legal theorists, and genocide scholars have identified this war as genocidal in its intent and methods. Accompanying this war is an unrelenting expansion of colonization and settler attacks across the Palestinian Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem as well as the West Bank; extreme repression against the Palestinian citizens of Israel; and ongoing denial of the right of return of Palestinian refugees across the world. Alongside other sectors of Palestinian society, the Palestinian academic sector has immensely suffered from these grinding assaults, and it is our duty as scholars to stand with our Palestinian colleagues and their students.
Far from constituting acts of self-defense, these violent actions are part and parcel of a colonial continuum that has been experienced in historic Palestine for more than a century. For the past 75 years, this structural and systematic process has taken the form of an ongoing Nakba across Palestine, whereby Israeli forces have violently engaged in ethnic cleansing, forced displacement, mass abduction and incarceration, legal apartheid, home demolitions, annexation of land and other resources, the siege of Gaza, illegal settlement construction and expansion, as well as brutal police and military violence. The ongoing Nakba also includes the scholasticide, the utter destruction of Palestinian education. Israel has carpet-bombed campuses, destroying Gaza’s universities; raiding classrooms; harassing, beating and arresting student leaders; encircling faculty’s homes; and arresting, injuring, and killing university presidents, administrators, professors, staff, and students and their families in its most recent assault on Gaza.
More than 219 educational facilities, including at least 29 UNRWA schools have been struck and destroyed by Israeli bombardment. The Islamic University of Gaza (IUG), Al-Azhar University and others have been eradicated. Israeli airstrikes have killed renowned Palestinian intellectuals including Professor Sufyan Tayeh, world-leading scientist and President of IUG, and the prominent poet and English literature professor Refaat Alareer of IUG. Access to education will be imperiled for generations of Gazan youth. The attacks are not limited to Gaza. Israeli occupation forces have stormed and detained students at West Bank universities, closed off roads and cities, preventing students and professors from attending classes in person. In Israeli universities, Palestinian faculty and students are harassed, threatened, disciplined, and beaten.
Israeli universities are also indispensable in aiding the colonial regime’s genocidal program. They are complicit in developing weaponry, architectural plans, military doctrines and strategies, and surveillance technology for sustaining the colonial apartheid state recognized by leading human rights organizations. These weapons and technologies have destroyed the health infrastructure in Gaza as health centers and hospitals have been systematically targeted and bombed – only 14 of 36 hospitals in Gaza are partially operating. Health workers have been kidnapped, detained, and tortured, and more than 300 have been killed, including renowned physicians and their entire families. Israel is using starvation as a method of warfare, depriving Palestinians of basic life resources – food, water, fuel, and electricity. Infectious diseases are spreading and a famine is on the horizon in Gaza. Crucially, all of these actions have been facilitated, supported, funded, and armed by the United States and major western powers. This makes it all the more pressing for scholars in countries sponsoring and supporting the Israeli government to urgently engage in solidarity.
SAWP includes scholars from the Social Sciences, Humanities, Medicine, Law and STEM, working in the United States, Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere. SWAP calls on scholars across our various disciplines to play a key role in working to stop Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza, and the systematic oppression and exploitation of the Palestinian people as a whole. SAWP aims to amplify the voices of thousands of scholars at hundreds of universities who have issued statements and petitions supporting the Palestinian people by coordinating cross-disciplinary, transnational actions and education around our basic demands.
Scholars have a duty to speak truth to power. Today, that means calling out Israel for its crimes against humanity and its suppression of Palestinian national, political, civil, religious, cultural, and educational rights. Our voices are louder and we are stronger if we stand together in solidarity with our Palestinian colleagues and call for an immediate end to the century-long colonial war on Palestine and its people.