Princeton students stage hunger strike to demand 'complete amnesty from all criminal and disciplinary charges' for Gaza Camp protesters

They demanded that the school "grant complete amnesty from all criminal and disciplinary charges for the participants of the peaceful protest. Reverse all campus bans and evictions of students."

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY
Students at Princeton University announced that they are going on a "hunger strike for Palestine." Reading from her phone while standing in front of a tree on which the protest sign was hung, one of the keffiyeh-clad overall-wearing students asked others to join her. The students' demands, however, have far less to do with the war in Israel, which is the excuse for their protest, and far more to do with their own protest.

"I'm inviting any people of conscience in the Princeton community, students, faculty, alumni, to participate with the striking students in a solidarity fast. In just the last few hours, we've had commitments from at least six people from Princeton Theological Seminary to participate in this solidarity fast, with more coming in by the hour," she said.

"At the Seminary," she said, reading a statement from her phone, "we've also been calling our school to disclose and divest for the last several years and want to join together with the students from the University in their hunger strike. Almost every faith tradition in the world engages in the spiritual practice of fasting. The three major Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, are no exception to this." 

"Jesus himself said," she continued, giving a version of Matthew 17:21, "'of some evils in the world, they require both prayer and fasting,' and we are here to live into that word."

Only a few days before, a group of Princeton students stood before the same sign and tree, also draped in keffiyehs, which have become the fashion statement of the Gaza camp protesters. There were two women among the group of seven students, one of whom wore traditional Islamic dress and the other who wore a facemask. Each student ran a portion of their prepared statement from their phones.

After expressing their concern for the people of Gaza, which was the only word the students delivered with an affected accent, they listed their demands, which were entirely localized to themselves and their protest.

"Meet with students to discuss their demands for disclosure, divestment and a full academic and cultural boycott of Israel; grant complete amnesty from all criminal and disciplinary charges for the participants of the peaceful protest. Reverse all campus bans and evictions of students."

"The University and the world must recognize that we refuse to be complicit in genocide, and will take every necessary action to change this reality, our hunger strike, though small in comparison to the enduring suffering of the Palestinian people, symbolizes our unwavering commitment to justice and solidarity."

Gaza camps have sprung up at a number of American universities, like Harvard, UVA, UT Austin, UCLA, UW in Seattle, UPenn, Columbia, and others.
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