Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights
holds wall protest in UCC
By Amanda Robinson
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
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
"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."