By Manal Museitef | Staff Writer|
CSUSB students gathered their efforts to raise awareness about the issues between Israel and Palestine.
The school’s first Palestine Awareness Week featured the display of a mock Apartheid wall, humanitarian speakers, and the film screening of the award-winning film, “Occupation 101,” with the help from the Muslim Student Association and Cross Cultural Center.
“I wanted to raise awareness. I didn’t expect anything back in return,” said PAW Coordinater Omar Abdelkhaleq. “The eye-opening reactions from students who had no knowledge on the issue fulfilled my expectations.”
For two days, students presented the wall, which “consists of a series of 25 foot high concrete walls, trenches, barbed wire and electrified fencing with numerous watch towers, electronic sensors, thermal imaging and video cameras, unmanned aerial vehicles, sniper towers, and roads for patrol vehicles”, according to Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel.
According to the MSA, the wall was strategically designed to separate the Palestinian people from their agricultural lands on which they rely for most of their means.
Each section of the mock wall either tells a story about a wrongfully taken life, a Palestinian’s demolished home, or a walkthrough of the daily disturbance of checkpoints.
One section revealed the common event of mothers giving birth at checkpoints where they awaited approval or denied entry into East Jerusalem, where most quality hospitals are located.
According to the World Health Organization and Palestinemonitor.org, at least 69 percent of pregnant women gave birth at checkpoints between 2000-2006. Of those, 35 children and five mothers have died.
The wall exposing the U.S. aid to Israel left nursing student Kourtni Anderson in shock. “I definitely thought it was interesting that America is giving so much aid to a country that is mistreating and killing millions of Palestinians,” said Anderson.
On April 11 the featured speakers and humanitarians presented their eye-opening views on the topic.
At noon, internationalist Barbara Lubin lead a discussion titled “The Bay Area’s Battle to Show Children’s Art from Gaza”. Lubin shared her experiences while visiting Palestine and the impact it played in her life. Lubin was inspired to publish a book, “A Child’s View from Gaza,” containing intense, censored images drawn by children from Gaza in 2011.
Amanda Boada, who listened in on the lecture, expressed her thoughts on the matter. “It was refreshing to hear more about the issues from someone else’s perspective, who has actually seen it through their own eyes,” said Boada.
That evening, students attended the panel discussion on the humanitarian crisis, lead by Dr. Asmah Taha, Ahlam Muhtaseb, Rabbi Hillel Chon and Dr. Qustandi Shomali.
Presentations covered topics ranging from the effects of the construction of the wall on higher education, access to proper health care and the division of Palestinians.
A film screening of “Occupation 101” took place in the Santos Manuel Student Union Theater to conclude the event. The documentary emphasized the issue between the Israelis and Palestinians and the struggle Palestinians face living under Israeli Military security. The Los Angeles Journal brands it as “one of the best documentaries.”
PAW was organized by students from different backgrounds, cultures, religions and beliefs. The awareness raised in this event cleared up questions, broke down misconceptions and sparked discussions among students from all walks of life.