Exeter College’s Junior Common Room “JCR” has recently passed an unprecedented motion condemning Israel and resolving to purchase and display a Palestinian flag in the JCR, and has moved to donate funds in support of medical aid for Palestinians.
According to the motion, the JCR suggested this move in recognition of recent developments like the murder of the Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh at the hands of Israeli forces, which has “led to widespread outcry”. The Al-Jazeera journalist was shot fatally in the head while she reported on Israeli military operations in the West Bank. Subsequent evidence which has emerged of the incident shows journalists being shot at in spite of their press vests and without being asked to leave first, while CNN video evidence found “no active combat, nor any Palestinian militants, near Abu Akleh in the moments leading up to her death”.
Exeter JCR in the motion also pointed to the fact that Human Rights Watch has stated that “Palestinians face systematic discrimination merely because of their race, ethnicity, and national origin” and that Amnesty International has “declared Israel an Apartheid state.” The motion was also pushed on the basis that the situation seemed to be escalating, stating that “Israel has killed five times as many Palestinians in 2022 than it killed in the same period in 2021, including the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque that injured over 150 Palestinians.”
On this basis, the JCR expressed a desire to show support and solidarity – the motion expressed that the college “should do whatever possible to show solidarity with Palestine amidst this international crisis” and also “should similarly ensure that Palestinian students, and students who identify with the Palestinian cause in Oxford, feel adequately supported by the college.” In addition, the JCR stated its intent to contribute toward humanitarian missions in Palestine.
Following these intentions, the JCR resolved to buy a Palestine flag for display in the JCR, as well as to donate £100 to Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). The charity provides medical aid and aims to develop the Palestinian healthcare system long-term through focus on local capacities and skills, aiming to improve “the health and dignity of Palestinians living under occupation and as refugees.”