Monday, 30 November 2009

Islamic University of Gaza Twinning Motion

Hopefully, we'll pass this motion- will keep you updated so watch this space!

Peace & Solidarity
QM Stop the War Coalition

-This union notes:
1. That the Universal Declaration of Human Rights promises equal right to all, including “Everyone has the right to education.” (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26)
2. That the Islamic University of Gaza is the largest university in Palestine.
3. That the IUG is a member of the International Association of Universities, Community of Mediterranean Universities and others, and that it won many prestigious awards including the Galileo International Prize for optics amongst others. (www.iugaza.edu.ps.en)
4. That the IUG is an independent institution free of any political party or group strongholds over it. (www.iugaza.edu.ps.en)
5. That on Sunday 28th December 2008, IUG was bombarded and two-six-storey buildings housing all of the university laboratories belonging to the colleges of IT, engineering and science were totally devastated (BBC news: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7802515.stm) (www.iugaza.edu.ps.en)
6. That before its bombing there were over 20,000 students at the IUG able to study with full resources. (www.iugaza.edu.ps.en)
7. That the president of the IUG, Dr Kamalain Sha’ath wrote to Queen Mary students during the occupation of fb113 to express the need for help and aid from students in the UK since the Israeli bombing of it. One of his requests was that UK universities twin with the IUG.
8. That a motion held at an EGM declared Israel an apartheid state. Therefore, as Israel is the occupying force in Gaza and West Bank, Palestinians in the ‘Occupied Palestinian Territories’ are the victims of apartheid. Now, various significant political figures have said the same; Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a black South African leading activist in the ANC (African National Congress that lead the movement) said on his visit to the Holy Land, “it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa", referring to the treatment of Palestinians in the hands of the Israeli state. More recently, the SA Trade Union, the country’s largest umbrella group of trade unions, has also voted to condemn the Israeli apartheid state and expressed solidarity with the Palestinians- many of these members experienced apartheid at the hands of the white Afrikaners, so they understand apartheid more so than others. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/apr/29/comment) (www.ynetnews.com)
9. That international solidarity with students suffering from apartheid played an important role in the South African apartheid movement. The ANC Youth League (of which Nelson Mandela first joined) had a huge part in the campaign for freedom for black and Indian South Africans, and today the ANC talk of the importance of international student cooperation. One example is of students around the world meeting at their own universities and gathering support and funds for those SA students. (Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom)
10. That since 2007 Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza barring people, goods, aid (though some charities like the VIVA Palestina Convoy and DEC are able to get in) and much needed materials like cement for rebuilding damaged houses, from both entering and leaving Gaza. (BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7545636.stm) (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/21/israel-gaza-strip-middle-east)
11. That amongst other outcomes, this is having a detrimental impact on student life, from what we may call simple things like textbooks and paper barred from coming in to Gaza, to bigger problems, like the psychological effects suffered by many young Palestinians. (Medical Aid for Palestinians: www.map-uk.org) The humanitarian crisis also inevitably means that students are unable to carry on their studies due to illnesses that cannot be treated (over half of all hospitals in Gaza were bombed by the IDF during its assault, 40 clinics were damaged and 2 completely destroyed. Patients cannot leave Gaza to receive treatment in Egypt or Israel where many would normally have gone) and having to look after family members. Due to unemployment, which is a result of the blockade and bombing, parents can no longer afford to pay university fees for their children. (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3669379,00.html)
12. That it is a commonly held British, and also universal principle that all people have the right to education. Nevertheless, simple and also important advantages and rights that we enjoy as students in the UK are constantly being violated for Palestinian students. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/may/12/israelandthepalestinians.unitednations)

-This union believes:
1. That all people have the right to education (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26)
2. In the importance of solidarity and the difference that it makes to victims of war, apartheid and foreign blockades.
3. That international solidarity was an important factor in the struggle against South African apartheid and can also be in the new struggle against Israeli apartheid.
4. Thus it is our responsibility as Queen Mary students who live in a safe environment, and are more fortunate than many other students around the world, that we mobilise to support those students in the face of oppression and persecution, to help give them better chances at education as they deserve.
5. That the IUG lists Queen Mary as one of many universities in the UK that acted in solidarity with them- this is a new precedence set for QM. That we have this new status is a fact that we should be proud of, and aim to increase and maintain in the struggle for freedom.

-This union resolves:
1. That QMSU twins with the Islamic University of Gaza as an act of solidarity for the damage done to the institution since the bombing, the current blockade on anything or anyone leaving or entering Gaza, and as solidarity to students who are victims of apartheid by doing the following:
I. To bring to the attention to heads of staff at QM the possibility of joint academic and scientific research between the two universities and teaching staff.
II. Encourage Provide to communicate volunteering opportunities in the Palestinian Occupied Territories
III. Look at sponsoring exchange visits for teachers and students; one possible aim is short-term training, attending courses, conferences, workshops, seminars
IV. That QMSU will publicise and support any academics and students who come on exchange visits to QM
V. To promote sponsoring subscription to limited online journals, databases, e-books or e-libraries to heads of library
2. That the SU post information of the twinning to students in QMessenger, through Global Email and other means.
3. That the principle and the QM management are told of this twinning project, and asked by the SU to support it.
4. That the SU do what is possible to convey this twinning project to the wider community, for example through press releases, and informing other Student Unions.

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