We, the students of the University of Manchester, are going on hunger strike solely in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners. 1,500 Palestinian prisoners have started a hunger strike on 17th April 2017. Many of them are underaged, and most of them have been in Israeli jails for years. They have started a hunger strike to demand basic human rights: the ability to contact their families via telephone, medical care and recover their confiscated belongings, the end of isolation in prisons and imprisonment without charge or trial.
Decades ago, university students were key in demanding the end of apartheid of South Africa. University students have paid a key role in many anti-racist struggles, including Black Lives Matter. The struggle for justice for the Palestinians is no different, they have 70 years of unremitting mistreatment, including thousands of deaths, systemic expulsions, institutional racism and apartheid. We stand in solidarity with them.
As students we feel a responsibility to support the Palestinian cause. Through our tuition fees we are funding the university’s activities, which support the Israeli apartheid regime. As most British universities, the University of Manchester invests millions of pounds in companies which are complicit with the suffering of the Palestinians. For instance, the university invests millions in Caterpillar, a company that supplies the bulldozers used by the Israeli Defence Forces to demolish Palestinian homes.
It is not only our right, but also our duty to end this injustice. Justice will win.