October 7 , 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 22  

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NEWS

Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights holds wall protest in UCC

By Amanda Robinson
Gazette Writer

Dave Picard/Gazette
Looking for peace in the middle-east. Randa Mouammar, a second-year law student and member of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, sets up a display in the University Community Centre atrium.

Students may have noticed the dummies draped in a Palestinian flag and barbed wire in the University Community Centre atrium by Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights yesterday.

SPHR congregated in the UCC atrium to tell students the construction of a security wall in Israel is a violation of human rights and is being built for unjust reasons. Hussam Ayyad, president of SPHR, held the silent protest against what SPHR was calling the "apartheid wall."

The security wall, currently being built in Israel, will separate the Northern and Southern occupied territories and include a fence separating Gaza.

SPHR campaign director and second-year law student Randa Mouammar said the purpose of the display was to show students the damage the wall will inflict on Palestinian families. "Every[one] else, except North America, has focused on the construction of this wall. [The North American media] has been too nonchalant about this issue," Mouammar said.

The wall is being built to theoretically decrease or lighten terrorist attacks, Ayyad explained.

"The wall is a confiscation of Palestinian lands and is only increasing frustration, resulting in more terrorist attacks," Ayyad said. "It is not for security reasons; instead it is a way for Israel to separate and marginalize Palestinian identity, away from [their] land, [their] society and the people they belong to."

Matthew Fisher, a member of both the Jewish Students' Union and the Israel Action Committee, said SPHR failed to mention the purpose of the security fence.

"The purpose of the fence is to keep suicide bombers from sneaking into the West Bank. Israel is only trying to protect its citizens and keep Israelis on its territories," he said. He also noted the wall is called an "apartheid wall" by Palestinians and a "security fence" by the Israelis.

"The fence wouldn't have to be there if there wasn't suicide bombers trying to enter Israeli cities and hurt innocent civilians," Fisher said, acknowledging there are disputes over where the fence is going to be constructed.

"I am just disappointed that they decided to hold this protest on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year [in Judaism]. I think that they did it purposely. They knew it would be beneficial for them to hold it today," Fisher said.

"We had no idea; our proposal was initially for Oct. 8, but this is the day that the [University Students' Council] gave us," Ayyad responded.

"The display is a really good idea and is really educational - it brings up a lot of good points. [The Middle East is] a really hot-button topic, but it is something that really needs to be discussed," said second-year political science student Andrew Brett.

"I wasn't aware there was a wall," said J.C. van Marle, a third-year social science student. "But any wall is not good. Look at the Berlin wall. It's almost like segregation in a way and that's not cool. Denying rightful claim to land, that's not right either."

 

 

 

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