By Ethan Nichols, World News Editor
Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians is perhaps the single most egregious human rights violation in the world.
Xavier prides itself on its Jesuit values. One of those values is solidarity and kinship. How can we as a university remain committed to solidarity and kinship if we don’t stand in solidarity with Occupied Palestine?
Whether it’s through buying and using products made in the Occupied Palestine, sending students to Israel on study abroad programs, or through investing in Israeli companies, Xavier University is actively invested in the Israeli government.
It’s important we understand what is happening in Occupied Palestine, though. There is a lot of confusion and misinformation out there.
Many refer to the genocide as a “conflict,” which is rather inaccurate.
A report released earlier this year from Amnesty International detailed some of the atrocities being committed. In particular, the report included: “Israel’s intent to create and maintain a system of oppression and domination over Palestinians and examined its key components: territorial fragmentation; segregation and control; dispossession of land and property; and denial of economic and social rights.”
Amnesty came to the conclusion that “this system amounts to apartheid. Israel must dismantle this cruel system and the international community must pressure it to do so. All those with jurisdiction over the crimes committed to maintain the system should investigate them.”
When looking at the occupation of Palestine, one can begin to see the connections and similarities to the South African apartheid system in place from 1948 to the 1990’s.
Forced removals, demolition of Palestinian homes, the confining of Palestinians to specific areas of land, checkpoints and control of transportation and the confiscation of land are all reminiscent of South African apartheid.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who was a leader against the atrocities being committed in South Africa, was a strong critic of the Israeli government.
“I know first-hand that Israel has created an apartheid reality within its borders and through its occupation. The parallels to my own beloved South Africa are painfully stark indeed,” Tutu said.
Beyond the control, removal, confiscation and forced removals characteristic of apartheid, the Israeli government is also guilty of continued violence.
In May 2022, Israeli soldiers murdered American-Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Abu Akleh was shot and killed wearing a blue press vest while reporting on a raid by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF.) Reports from The New York Times, Human Rights Watch, CNN, The Washington Post, U.S. State Department and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights determined that Abu Akleh’s death was due to gunfire from Israeli forces.
During Abu Akleh’s funeral, Israeli forces attacked pallbearers carrying her coffin. They attacked mourners with batons and stun grenades.
In a 213-page report, the Human Rights Watch, a leading mainstream human rights organization, said: “Across these areas and in most aspects of life, Israeli authorities methodically privilege Jewish Israelis and discriminate against Palestinians. Laws, policies, and statements by leading Israeli officials make plain that the objective of maintaining Jewish Israeli control over demographics, political power, and land has long guided government policy. In pursuit of this goal, authorities have dispossessed, confined, forcibly separated, and subjugated Palestinians by virtue of their identity to varying degrees of intensity. In certain areas, as described in this report, these deprivations are so severe that they amount to the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.”
Former president Jimmy Carter authored a controversial book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, in 2006. Carter had the guts to call Israel what is is — an apartheid state, guilty of human rights violations and international war crimes.
The U.S. government and governments across the world must commit to sanctions and boycotts against the Israeli government. This is perhaps the greatest moral issue of our lifetime. To stay silent on the ongoing apartheid being committed in Occupied Palestine makes us just as guilty as those in power who continue to provide unconditioned arms and aid to Israel.
Xavier University should also commit to a full boycott of products manufactured and made in Occupied Palestine and a full divestment from Israel. We have a moral obligation to do so.