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Japanese students demand 'end to military research with Israel'

Demonstrations in favor of Palestine have been held in Japan, South Korea as well as in Australia

13:17 - 15/05/2024 Çarşamba
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File photo
File photo

Amid global waves of student solidarity with Palestinians, students in Japan have demanded an end to any kind of collaboration with Israel, including military research.

The pro-Palestine students, who have held encampments at Kyoto University, Wednesday submitted a memo to the varsity administration, urging President Nagahiro Minato to publicly condemn violence against Palestinian civilians.

Student demonstrations in favor of Palestinians, who have been facing relentless bombardment by Israel since Oct. 7, have rocked university campus across the globe with police and intelligence agencies raiding student encampments in the US.

In a four-point charter shared with Anadolu, Kyoto University Association in Solidarity with the Palestinian People, urged the university administration to rescind a memorandum of understanding with Tel Aviv University in Israel “where military research is conducted.”

“We call on Kyoto University to refrain from any form of collaboration, partnership, or support that directly or indirectly aids the Israeli military in its actions against Palestinian civilians,” read the memo.

It includes “withholding research funding, technology transfers, or any other form of assistance that could be used to perpetuate violence or human rights abuses,” the memo read.

The association also demanded that the varsity should “provide assistance and support to Palestinian students” besides promoting dialogue and understanding.

“We call on Kyoto University to facilitate academic forums, seminars, and discussions that foster dialogue and understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” it said.

“By encouraging open discourse and diverse perspectives, we can contribute to peacebuilding efforts and promote empathy and mutual respect among students and faculty.”

Masashi Kawano, a PhD candidate and member of the association, told Anadolu that the Kyoto University authorities “employ security guards to monitor student movements and there are frequent crackdowns.”

“But so far, the situation is not as aggressive as in the USA or Europe,” said Kawano, referring to the crackdown on pro-Palestine student demonstrations in the US and Europe.

Kawano said the association has been active since 2019 and “our main activities were study groups and film screenings on Palestine.”

“We have organized standings and rallies following the unacceptable deterioration in the situation since 10/7 (Oct. 07),” he said.

Pro-Palestine protests have also been witnessed in Australia, as well as in South Korea.

Last Friday, pro-Palestine demonstrators gathered and rallied in the downtown of Seoul, the capital of South Korea, chanting "free, free Palestine."

Carrying banners, such as “Stop ground invasion of Rafah,” the marchers demanded an end to the war in Gaza.

Nearly 35,180 Palestinians have been killed and over 79,000 others injured in a brutal Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas that killed nearly 1,200 people.

The group demands an end to Israel's military offensive on the Gaza Strip in return for any hostage swap with Tel Aviv.

More than seven months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January said it is "plausible" that Tel Aviv is committing genocide in Gaza, ordering it to stop such acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in the enclave.

#Australia
#Gaza
#Israel
#Japan
#Kyoto University Association in Solidarity with the Palestinian People
#Masashi Kawano
#military research
#Nagahiro Minato
#Palestine
#South Korea
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