PAM statement presented to the CFA Fall 2023 Assembly

Colonialism, Military Occupation, and Siege are the Root Cause of All Violence
Oct. 19, 2023

Dear CSU community members,
As members of the CFA Palestine, Arab, and Muslim (PAM) Caucus, we are writing to share our
collective grief over the horrific state of siege in Gaza and the recent reprehensible, grossly
unjust, and atrociously inhumane events that have forced 1.1 million remaining Palestinians, who
are mostly refugees, to flee their homes or risk losing their lives to escalated military bombings.
In violation of the 4th Geneva Convention, Israel has engaged this last week in the most severe
form of collective punishment and retaliation against the Palestinian people of Gaza, including
bombing hospitals and UN schools/shelters, with no indications whether and when this ongoing
nightmarish military assault and siege will stop. Echoing colonial archetypes that seek to
rationalize state violence against occupied people, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant
announced Israel’s deadly decision to ban food, water, and electricity to all Gazans. Declaring
that Israel was “fighting human animals,” Israel’s top military official reinforced a racist,
degrading, and dehumanizing Zionist colonial mindset about Palestinians. According to the
United Nations, with no humanitarian supplies allowed into Gaza for over a week, more than 2
million Palestinians’ lack of access to clean water will undoubtedly cause pervasive death among
this population, violating basic human rights of Palestinian civilians. In a further attempt to
isolate an already besieged people and prevent news of these atrocities from reaching the
international community, the Israeli army announced it is cutting off the Internet in Gaza.
We are deeply concerned that the Israeli regime is capitalizing on the October 7th militant
incursion to create another Nakba by forcing Palestinians to leave their land, while
simultaneously killing displaced refugees and blocking safe passage through its indiscriminate
air strikes despite its claims to precision weaponry. Instead of supporting an immediate cease fire
and calls for de-escalating Israel’s brutal military assault, the US government is deliberately
choosing to increase military aid and weapons to Israel to enable it to carry out this genocide.
According to USAID Data Services, as of January 2023, in constant 2021 U.S. dollars
(inflation-adjusted), total U.S. aid to Israel obligated from 1946-2023 is an estimated $260
billion. We cannot in good conscience stand by idly while the Israeli government violates all
human rights conventions and ignores the human catastrophe in Gaza where the death toll stands
at this moment at over 3000 people and expected to rise as we write, including over 1000
children who were killed by Israel’s nonstop indiscriminate bombardment during the last 7 days,
wounding close to 13,000 people. It is estimated that at least another thousand people are buried
under the rubble and might not have a chance to be pulled out alive.
For the last 75 years, Israeli military colonialism, occupation and apartheid has already caused
widespread societal destruction for Palestinians, whereas over half the population currently lives
in poverty. Subjected to food rationing, limited mobility in what humanitarian advocates have
called an “open air prison”, widespread denial and limited access to education and employment,
Palestinian life is stunted on all levels. Enshrined in the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949
international law extends special provisions and protection to non-combatants living under
occupation. Scores of human rights organizations have documented the ongoing systemic Israeli
human rights violations of Palestinians living under this colonial and apartheid regime. Despite
such overwhelming evidence, the United States government and policy makers have shut their
ears to these gross violations of Palestinian human rights that are enshrined in US law, including
protocols for military aid. Similarly the inherent bias in US mainstream media consistently
spotlights the humanity and suffering of individual Israelis while ignoring investigative coverage
and reporting about Israel’s crimes, let alone the suffering and pain of individual Palestinians,
reducing them to dry statistics. Revenge is not a justifiable use of military power and this
collective punishment of Palestinian civilians is a war crime.
Dissent against this atrocious war is the only honorable and conscionable act. Silence is not an
option and neutrality only amounts to complicity. We must challenge those among us who hold
power in US higher education to stand up and be counted. They know that billions of dollars sent
to Israel to support ethnic cleansing and genocide could be spent in the US for the people,
including our students, who cannot afford the skyrocketing costs of higher education, healthcare,
housing, transporation, food and other basic needs. Attacks on our colleagues, students, and
academic freedoms are examples of epistemic and physical violence on our campuses. These
violences are directly tied to the horrendous genocide taking place in Palestine.
We write to demand an immediate end to the ongoing massacre in Gaza and call on all our
colleagues and the larger CSU community to stand with the Palestinian people and refuse to
allow a new Nakba. To that end we join Palestinians and the international community to call for:

    An immediate ceasefire in Gaza;
    An immediate end to all US aid to Israel;
    Opening the Israel-controlled crossing to allow food, fuel and medical supplies into
    Pressuring the US government to restore electricity, internet, and water that Israel cut off
    Support for a prisoner exchange;
    International, reputable and unbiased commissions to investigate war crimes;
    Honor the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions; and
    Additionally, we call on all administrators in higher education to provide the necessary
    support and resources to protect our faculty, staff, students, and community members who
    speak out and protest against the genocide as well as those whose families and
    communities are directly impacted.