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Yale students stage hunger strike to demand divestment from Israel’s war on Gaza

Yale University graduate students participate in a press conference concerning the Graduate Students for Palestine hunger strike at Yale University’s Cross Campus in New Haven on April 12, 2024. (Photo by AP)

A group of graduate students at Yale University have launched a hunger strike in protest against the institution’s investments in companies providing Israel with arms and military equipment amid the occupying regime’s months-long genocidal war against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The hunger strike was staged after students with the group, Hunger Strikers for Palestine, sent a letter to Yale president Peter Salovey and called on the university to divest from its investments in companies providing the Israeli regime with military technology.

“We demand that by the morning of this Friday, 4/12/2024, you make a public statement committing to divest from all weapons manufacturing companies contributing to Israel’s assault on Palestine,” said the letter, which was shared with the UK-based news website Middle East Eye.

“We demand that at next Saturday’s Yale Corporation board meeting, you and the rest of the board discuss plans for divestment and release a public statement acknowledging that the board has done so.”

In their letter, the students said that Yale has put more than $640,000 in investments in weapons manufacturers like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman, “which produce the bombs, planes, and weapons used to carry out Israel’s indiscriminate attacks on Gaza.”

Hunger Strikers for Palestine said they had sent multiple letters to Yale and called on the university to divest from companies providing Israel with weaponry since the regime launched its brutal aggression on Gaza last October.

“Students have exhausted their means of communicating with the Yale administration about divesting from arms manufacturing,” the group said in a press release.

Yale University’s Graduate Students for Palestine (GSP), which helped organize the latest letter and the hunger strike, said this protest was the result of the administration ignoring their protests and demands for months.

“This is the last thing folks are able to give, their bodies,” a member of GSP, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told MEE.

“In the total nonresponse of any kind from the institution we are speaking to, the final thing we can put on the line really is our health and well-being.”

Another GSP member said that as a result of a months-long silence by the university, the hunger strike was a last-ditch effort to get their voices heard.

“Our demand is divestment, and this is the most intense, and also a final way for us to ask Yale to hear our demands,” the student said.

Other universities across the United States have also been the scene of similar acts of protests in condemnation of Israel’s war on Gaza and Washington’s untrammeled support for the illegal regime.

Earlier this year, students at Brown University began a hunger strike with a similar demand for their institution to divest from companies that profit from Israeli human rights abuses against Palestinians.

Last month, a student at McGill University was hospitalized after launching an indefinite hunger strike in protest against the school’s investments in similar companies.

Israel waged the bloody war on Gaza on October 7 after Palestinian resistance groups launched Operation al-Aqsa Storm in the occupied territories in retaliation for the Tel Aviv regime’s incessant crimes against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Since the start of the aggression, the Tel Aviv regime has killed at least 33,634 people in Gaza, mostly women and children.

The campaign has devastated large swathes of Gaza, destroyed hospitals and displaced half of its population of 2.4 million. 

Israel has also imposed a “complete siege” on the coastal sliver, cutting off fuel, electricity, food and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

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