The Georgetown Students for Justice in Palestine marched along the White House on Saturday to protest the recent events in the Gaza Strip, which raised some disagreements on campus with another student organization – the Georgetown Israel Alliance.

Ariell Zimran (SFS ’09), president of the Georgetown Israel Alliance, blamed Hamas for breaking a 6-month-old cease-fire on Dec. 19 and launching 200 rockets into civilian centers in Israel.

“As a result of these decisions, Egyptian, Saudi Arabian and

Palestinian leaders have laid the blame for the current conflict squarely on Hamas,” he said. “We see the weakening of Hamas and the destruction of its ability to attack Israel as a necessary step on the path to a sustainable peace.”

Others – including some from the organization Students for Justice in Palestine – believe Israel has gone too far in targeting Hamas, often putting civilians in harm’s way.

“The goal of Students for Justice in Palestine is to spread awareness of the suffering that Palestinians experience on a daily basis. Furthermore, we hope to strengthen campus support for the idea of establishing a Palestinian state,” Elisa Dun (SFS ’09), co-president of Students for Justice in Palestine, said.

The conflict in Gaza began when Israel launched a ground invasion and aerial bombardment campaign into the Gaza Strip in order to counter rocket attacks from the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas.

Calling the crisis a “massacre” of Palestinian civilians, the Council on American-Islamic Relations sponsored the “Let Gaza Live!” march on Jan. 10 to demand an end to the conflict.

embers of Students for Justice in Palestine participated in the march, with many criticizing the slow response of the world community to the crisis.

“The crisis is despicable and grotesque: The toll on civilian life is massive, and this is a clear violation of humanitarian law. Not only has Israel been ignoring this, but so has the international community in their failure to exert enough pressure to protect the civilian population,” said Sara Moufarrij (COL ’12), a student who took part in the march.

Zimran said that the rights of the Palestinian people can still be recognized despite Israel’s role in the current conflict.

“Supporting Israel does not entail denying Palestinian nationalism,” he said. “Just like the state of Israel has for the past 15 years, [Georgetown Israel Alliance] supports a two-state solution.”

Both sides agree that action must continue beyond the current crisis. Moufarrij points out that petitions are being circulated to President-elect Barack Obama and to University President John J. DeGioia to devote more time and resources to the conflict.

Zimran hopes that the two organizations can continue to work together in the future, pointing out that they cooperated to co-host a panel discussion last fall.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.