Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Op-Ed submitted by Swarthmore Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine
Swarthmore Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine (SPJP) aims to raise awareness and push conversations about the conditions of life in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. This week, we will be hosting a series of events exploring different aspects of the current conflict, in which we invite you to participate. Our events are open to all students and we welcome hearing from all perspectives.
The most visible event this week will be the installation of a wall in front of Parrish, which will be up from Wednesday through Friday. This wall is designed to invoke the Wall that separates Palestinian communities from Israel and Israeli settlements in Palestine. Our intent in putting up this wall is to draw attention to the permanent reality of living in the Palestinian Territories. As you interact with the wall during the latter part of this week, we hope that you will reflect upon the conditions of life that such a wall creates, and the structures that have allowed such a wall to be created and maintained.
As some may recall, we had a similar installation three years ago. While much has changed since we first created the installation, the Wall and checkpoints in the Palestinian Territories remain. In fact, its construction — along with the construction of new Israeli settlements in Palestine — has accelerated. Three years ago we wanted to build a wall on campus to draw attention to the impact the Wall has in the Palestinian Territories, and we approach this year’s project with the same goal. We see the acknowledgment of these structural barriers and their effects as a crucial step in understanding the conflict.
We will be holding a checkpoint simulation at the wall from 10 to 2 on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. During this simulation, you will be given an ID card representing an Israeli, an international citizen, a Palestinian with a travel permit, and a Palestinian without a travel permit. Your treatment at the checkpoint may correspond with what someone with a similar ID would likely experience at a checkpoint. If you do not want to participate in this simulation, please exit Parrish from a side door, as McGill Walk will be occupied by the wall.
We recognize that this installation may be triggering for some people, and may bring up complicated feelings and emotions for many on campus. We would like to see all of these feelings channeled and discussed in a productive manner. To help facilitate this, we are hosting an open discussion on Friday April 26 at 2pm in Kohlberg 116, facilitated by Dean Alina Wong and Professor Elliot Ratzman. The discussion three years ago was an incredible success, and we hope that this discussion will be similarly productive. Part of that meeting’s success was due to the diversity of perspectives shared at the meeting, and we encourage everyone — regardless of their opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or our installation — to attend.
We also wish to invite you to a screening of the Academy Award nominated documentary “5 Broken Cameras” and also our remembrance ceremony for the American peace activist Rachel Corrie. The film screening will be on Friday, April 26 at 8pm in Science Center 105, and the remembrance ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 25 at 7:30pm in front of Parrish.
Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine (firstname.lastname@example.org)