Displaced Palestinians Thank American Students for Solidarity

Al-Shaboub Refugee Camp, Gaza — From inside a refugee camp in southern Gaza, displaced Palestinians spray painted messages of thanks to students and protesters at Columbia University and the masses of American universities for their support of Palestine and the Gaza Strip. “We cherish what they did for the sake of our Palestinian people,” said Tafkir Hamad speaking of the students in the U.S.

Messages such as “Thank you students [at] Columbia,” “Thank you American universities,” and “Thank you students in solidarity with Gaza your message has reached” were sprawled across the facade and walls of tents where Palestinians forcibly pushed into southern Gaza are currently living.

A student-led, anti-genocide, pro-Palestine movement has swept the nation over the past several weeks with Gaza solidarity encampments popping up across the country, and more recently across the world, calling on educational institutions to disclose any investments and divest from Israel and weapons manufacturers.

The movement in the U.S. has been violently repressed by militarized police forces. Over 2,500 college students and protesters have been arrested recently in the United States.

During a massive operation by the New York Police Department the night before we heard from Hamad and documented the messages of thanks, police arrested more than 300 students and protesters at Columbia University, where protesters had occupied a building, and at City College of New York.

At least 34,789 Palestinians have been reportedly killed by Israel in Gaza since Oct. 7, 2023 with upwards of 13,000 missing under the rubble. (More than 450 Palestinians have been killed in the occupied West Bank.)

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