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Row over universities hosting Israeli Defence Force soldiers

Row over universities hosting Israeli Defence Force soldiers

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) oppose Victoria University hosting Israeli Defence Force solders, who participated in war crimes in Gaza. The soldiers are touring the world as part of the Israeli government’s attempt to justify Operation Protective Edge and other massacres and attacks on Gaza since 2007.

In July 2014, Israel invaded the Gaza Strip in a military operation it called Operation Protective Edge. Israel killed 2,194 people in 51 days, 1,523 of them civilians. The international community, including New Zealand, condemned the targeting of civilian areas in Gaza.

The United Nations stated that Israeli heavy artillery and mortars were not designed to for specific military targets and so their use “may amount to a war crime”.

“These people are representing the Israeli state,” states Victoria student Ian Anderson. “Victoria University should not be a party to this. There is no neutral position on atrocities.”

The University of Canterbury Political Science Society decided not to host the touring IDF soldiers, who were part of Operation Protective Edge.

"Ambulances, journalists and UN schools were targeted. Over 500 children were killed, many more were maimed,” Lois Griffiths, spokesperson for Canterbury Justice for Palestine stated. “Why would a University want to legitimize the actions of IDF by giving their soldiers a platform?"

Despite decades of international diplomacy, Israeli occupation, violence and expansionism continue. Palestinians have accordingly called for non-violent Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) to force Israel to comply with international law.

"Palestinians in NZ are horrified that Israeli soldiers who have killed 500 children in Gaza in 2014 are touring our NZ universities publicly justifying it," explained Billy Hania from the Palestine Solidarity Network (Auckland).

The event is planned for Tuesday the 29th of September, Victoria University Memorial Theatre at 8.30 pm. SJP are calling for Victoria University to cancel the booking, and will picket the event if it goes ahead.


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