Precisely two Dickinson students, Noah Frank ’20 and Laura Zwerling ‘18, handed out flyers in support of Susya, a Palestinian village under threat of demolition by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) to protest the anticipated Israeli attack on Monday, Feb. 5.
Frank and Zwerling are members of J Street U, a student branch of J Street. Chapter president Frank described the organization’s mission as a “fight for a two-state solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict.” Frank explained that the attention campaign was prompted after the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that Susya, a Palestinian village in a section of the West Bank controlled by Israel, could be demolished to clear space for Israeli settlers.
Frank continued to explain that this decision came as a result of the Israeli government currently being controlled by “far-right settlers.” The Knesset, the Israeli national legislature, is run by a coalition, the largest party of which is Likud, a centre-right party whose chairman is Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s current Prime Minister.
Dickinson’s chapter of J Street U has rallied in support of Susya previously. On Sept. 29, 2017, members of the Dickinson community called various Israeli consulates by phone to voice concern over planned Israeli actions towards the village. Frank explained that the recent flyer campaign was organized because past actions of the organization “has influenced the Israeli government to delay or halt the demolition of Susya. Since Susya was just ruled that it could be under demolition again…we are again rallying to protect them.”
The flyers in question explained that the attempts to demolish Susya, along with other Palestinian villages, are part of the Israeli strategy to assert control over the region. “Persistent demolitions of Palestinian communities are part of the far-right’s strategy of securing a ‘Greater Israel’ and eliminating the possibility of a two-state solution – a strategy, which some call ‘creeping annexation’ read the flyer. “Demolition of the village would not only leave its 350 residents without their homes, but would also signal the possibility of demolition for many other villages in the West Bank.”
Other students agreed with J Street U’s message.
“The Israel/Palestine conflict as it stands today is one of the greatest sponsored humanitarian crises of our time,” said Kevin Ssonko ’20. “The action of people to recognize the injustice on Palestinian peoples represents the apathy of a culture gone mad on consumption and militarism. I hope that in our time, we can grow to a greater consciousness to cease such a madness of unrestricted, legalized killing of an entire group of people.”
Aboody Rumman ’20 also said, “I commend [Frank] for his efforts. This great impending tragedy is one of the few problems facing the minorities within the borders.”
Zwerling said, “I find the plans to demolish Susya and other Palestinian villages in Area C extremely concerning. Expanding settlements and leaving these Palestinian villagers homeless will only increase tensions and harm the peace process. As someone who is pro-Israel and pro-peace, I strongly believe that this creeping annexation must stop in order for a two-state solution to be possible.”
Frank added “You can’t get to a two-state solution if you’re demolishing people’s homes.”