Cardiff UCU condemns the violent attacks on Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and within Israel by the Israeli armed forces. We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people who, since at least 1948, have resisted warfare, violent displacements, discriminatory laws/policies, blockades, detentions, land annexations and what has been described as ethnic cleansing (e.g. Pappé, 2006). What is going on today is only the most recent juncture in an ongoing process of occupation and apartheid (B’tselem, 2021) that dehumanises the Palestinian people. This has been recognised most recently by Human Rights Watch and the Israeli human rights organization B’tselem.
We mourn all loss of life and condemn all forms of racism including antisemitism, we are in solidarity with all people around the world who suffered attacks as a result of this situation and who have endured discrimination for generations, and we are in solidarity with all ordinary people/workers, Palestinian and Israeli, who have been oppressed by the Israeli state. We strongly refuse the ‘two-sides’ narrative that conceals the inequalities between the Israeli state – which receives USD $3.8 billion in military aid annually from the United States and exerts sovereign control over Israel and all the Occupied Palestinian Territories — and a Palestinian population resisting occupation, oppression and the daily violation of human rights. We recognise Palestinians’ right to liberation, to self-determination, to remain in their residence, and to return home.
We therefore condemn the threat to forcibly and illegally evict Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, the attack on the Al Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan and the violent repression of Palestinian protests. We also condemn the bombing of the besieged Gaza strip, which has killed over 200 people and injured over 1000.
The attacks have, in the context of the global pandemic, damaged important infrastructure, affecting the provision of water, sanitation, healthcare, education, journalism and housing, as well being disproportionate and not taking the necessary precautions to protect civilians. Collectively as well as individually such acts amount to serious and egregious breaches of international law and may amount to crimes against humanity or war crimes.
We recognise that we have colleagues and students who are personally affected by what is going on at this time and offer them our solidarity and support. We take seriously calls from students to decolonise our university and see solidarity with the Palestinian cause as part of this process, and indeed part of our role as universities to work against all forms of racism, colonialism and injustice globally.
More specifically we call on the university to make a public statement of support and solidarity with Palestine and call on the Israeli state to stop the violence. We also call on the university to support the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) of the Israeli state for as long as it continues with its system of apartheid.
The UK is very much implicated in this colonial project through its involvement in the early 20th century Sykes-Picot Agreement, Balfour Declaration, British mandate, and its arms sales to Israel. We call on the Welsh and UK government to apply pressure on Israel to immediately end its air strikes and impose a two-way arms embargo with Israel and to lobby the Israeli state to end its siege of Gaza and dismantle the Apartheid wall that it has constructed both in Gaza and in the West Bank. We call on these governments to ensure that no Welsh and UK firms/institutions contribute to the apartheid regime.