Eleanor Roosevelt High School's Student-Run Newspaper

The Raider Review

Eleanor Roosevelt High School's Student-Run Newspaper

The Raider Review

Eleanor Roosevelt High School's Student-Run Newspaper

The Raider Review

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DMV Universities Join Student Protest Surge Amid Palestine-Israel Conflict

DMV+Universities+Join+Student+Protest+Surge+Amid+Palestine-Israel+Conflict

The ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict between military organization Hamas and the Israeli Defense Forces has been occurring since October of 2023, after an October 7th attack on Israel initiated by Hamas. Since then, the war has been ongoing primarily in the territory of Gaza. 

Recently, the attention has shifted to the city of Rafah, the largest city in Gaza which borders Egypt. In mid March, Israeli forces announced to carry out an operation in Rafah in an attempt to control the Gaza territory. On March 21st, Israeli air strikesbegan to hit the homes of sheltered civilians, escalating tensions. In April, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel would continue with plans on the operation in Rafah. Despite the disapproval of nations, the Israeli government continued with their plans. On May 6th, the Israeli military ordered over hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to evacuate the city. The day following, Israeli forces declared an invasion on the Rafah border, dropping air strikes and bombs. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been killed since the attacks in March. 

Since then, protests advocating for Palestinian rights have sparked movement in university campuses. Protestors are calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, divestment from U.S arms suppliers assisting to the war, and universities to cut any links with Israel, both financially and academically. Protests first began on April 17 on the campus of Columbia University, but soon spread to other universities nationwide. Since then, over 45 out of the 50 U.S. states including Washington D.C have had student protests with various forms of activism such as encampments, occupations, and walkouts. Among the universities protesting includes various schools in the DMV area such as American University, the University of Maryland College Park, Johns Hopkins University, Towson University, Goucher College, Howard University, Gallaudet University, Georgetown University, and George Washington University. 

Most notably, the student protests at George Washington University have gained significant media attention. The university campus, since the first protests in mid April, has turned into a space for protest encampments, where protestors from across the DMV, both GW and non GW students, have used the encampments to express their solidarity with Palestinians. Protest encampments are a symbolic space for advocacy, used in real time to educate others on the conflict, serve as a space for discussion within activists, and most importantly, to attract attention from both the media and public in order to highlight the cause at hand. On May 9, the encampment at GW was officially cleared down by police and over 33 protestors were detained. On May 19th, the university held its 2024 commencement ceremony, where student protestors walked out in protest, causing more uproar in the media, both locally and nationally. 

GWU’s proximity to the U.S government, it’s history of on campus activism, and the strong international affairs and political science communities have amplified its media presence.

Although, there have been other demonstrations that have occurred in DMV universities outside of George Washington University. The University of Maryland College Park, as well as American University, have held walkouts and sit outs, actively voicing their concerns for current events. At John Hopkins University, protest encampments have continued to grow, with students unsatisfied by the actions the university has taken amidst the situation in Gaza. The deaf and hard of hearing community at Gallaudet University joined the now cleared encampment at George Washington University, wearing a traditional Palestinian keffiyeh scarf as a symbol of solidarity. Although not much is seen in the news from some DMV universities, there are tons of videos on social media, and these universities have made significant contributions to student protesting. 

Now that universities have wrapped up for the 2023-2024 school year, encampments and protests on campuses have become smaller. But, the sentiment of students continues, both nationwide and in our local DMV community.

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