Keene State College senior Hersch Rothmel is spearheading the effort to begin a chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace on campus. Jewish Voice for Peace is a national grassroots organization that seeks to raise awareness about the Israeli occupation of Palestine. It advocates for human rights and amended U.S. policy in the region. The new student group held its first event last Tuesday, Oct. 14. The teach-in, focusing on Israel and Palestine, featured a number of speakers and was an impassioned and informative narrative.
Aisha Mershani has a Ph.D in Peace, Development and Conflict Studies. Her talk focused on the Palestinian Civil Resistance against the Israeli apartheid wall and occupation of the West Bank, where she has worked as a photographer and solidarity activist since 2003.
Her photographs are expository, documenting popular resistance to the wall, daily life, interactions and landscapes in the region.
She started off the teach-in by explaining that American media does not show what is truly going on in Israel/Palestine and that as Americans we are brainwashed on this matter.
The first misconception, she explained, Is that its not a conflict its an occupation. Israel is occupying Palestinian lands.
Focusing on the West Bank, Mershanis presentation centered on what she considers the three most dangerous parts of the integrated system that Israel has been implementing in order to control Palestinian movement and steal land. These parts are the checkpoints, the tunnel roads and the apartheid wall.
Inside the West Bank, a checkpoint is a station where Israeli soldiers check IDs of Palestinians before they are allowed to cross to other areas, Mershani explained.
She explained how the checkpoints arent just how we would think of border checkpoints between nations, but checkpoints between villages.
A single village may become enclosed and isolated. A residents ability to leave is completely in the hands of Israeli soldiers.
Mershani explained, What could be a five minute drive, turns into a four hour drive waiting in lines to be allowed to move from one village to the next even within the West Bank. This is a way for Israel to control and track Palestinian movement.
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Student organization encourages conversation about Palestine