Harvard students write pro-Palestine letter, leadership refuses to back statementtext_fields
Cambridge: Harvard University President Claudine Gay issued a statement on Tuesday addressing a pro-Palestinian statement made by a coalition of 34 Harvard student organisations. The student statement attributed responsibility for the violence in the region to the Israeli regime, citing decades of occupation.
Gay emphasised that the pro-Palestinian statement does not represent the entire institution or its leadership. She stated, "Let me also state... that while our students have the right to speak for themselves, no student group — not even 30 student groups — speaks for Harvard University or its leadership," reported Reuters.
The pro-Palestinian statement generated responses from prominent Harvard University alumni who criticised the stance.
The student organisations that signed the statement include Muslim and Palestinian support groups, as well as others representing various backgrounds, such as the Harvard Jews for Liberation and the African American Resistance Organization.
The recent escalation of violence in the region was triggered by an attack on Israel by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas which resulted in numerous casualties. Hamas claims that the planned strike was in retaliation against Israeli atrocities in Gaza and West Bank, which brought misery to an already suffocating population of the region.
The Hamas attack marked a significant breach of Israel's defences, the most severe since the Yom Kippur War 50 years ago. Israel's embassy in Washington reported that the death toll from Hamas' weekend attacks had exceeded 1,000.
In response to the attack, Israel carried out deadly airstrikes in Gaza, leading to significant casualties among Palestinians. According to Gaza's Health Ministry, at least 830 Palestinians were killed, and approximately 4,250 others were wounded in Israeli air strikes on the blockaded enclave since the start of the conflict on Saturday.
Gaza, a narrow strip of land measuring only 25 miles (40 km) in length and 6 miles (10 km) in width, is home to 2.3 million people who have lived under an Israeli-imposed blockade for 16 years, initiated after Hamas assumed control of the territory in 2007.
Harvard University's senior leadership, including 15 deans, expressed their sorrow over the death and destruction caused by Hamas' attack on citizens in Israel over the weekend.
Harvard University holds a significant position in U.S. politics and has produced eight former presidents and four of the nine current Supreme Court Justices.