December 6, 2012

Students cordial despite Gaza-Israel conflict

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Written by: Brandon Jordan
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Gaza Strip

Protests across the world have targeted both sides of the Gaza-Israel conflict with flag burning and chants of destruction, but Queens College has been absent from this despite large Jewish and Muslim groups amongst the student population.

The Gaza–Israel conflict is an ongoing dispute within the frame of the longterm Israeli–Palestinian conflict in the territory of the Gaza Strip. Ongoing Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel grew intense late in October and Israel’s government has responded with military force.

The death toll since the start of Israel’s offensive is up to 111, including 56 civilians, according to CBS News. Some 840 people have been wounded, including 225 children. Three Israeli civilians have been killed and dozens have been wounded, according to CBS News.

QC has not experienced any protests or conflicts between students as a result of the conflict overseas.

“One of the things that is remarkable about [QC] is, even though we have a wide variety of ethnic and religious groups — many of whom are immigrants — this has been a pretty peaceful place,” sociology professor, Samuel Heilman said.

“Peaceful” has been the ironic word to define relations between QC students who have ties to the conflict. Organizations on campus, such as the Muslim Student Association and the Hillel, both understand the importance of how peace and understanding can ease such volatility.

“I think it has been pretty quiet on campus compared to a lot of other campuses,” Heilman said. “I think it’s remarkable that if you go up to the Student Union, you’ll see the Muslims and the Hillel are sort of right next door to each other and nothing is going on.”

While QC may not be experiencing any racial divides, Baruch College reportedly has. Baruch’s student newspaper, The Ticker, said many signs advocating for both sides of the conflict have been posted on bulletin boards inside the school buildings.

MSA chaplain Ali Mermer does not feel such conflicts exist within the QC MSA or in the Hillel. Speaking on the conflict and its relation to students on campus, he said people within the MSA keep to themselves about political events.

“Someone put a sign that said, ‘Pray for Palestine.’ But we pray for everyone, not only for Palestinians,” Mermer said.




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