The Palestinian presence became all the more noticeable on campus in week 9, when a mock Israeli checkpoint was set up on the main walkway between Market Square and Vanbrugh Paradise.
Members of Student Action Palestine blocked the way of both staff and students in an attempt to highlight the plight faced by the Palestinian people who face the Israeli run checkpoints on a daily basis.
A row of four kneeling students dressed as Palestinian prisoners, with sacks over their heads and hands tied behind their back, lined the walkway.
One passing student explained how he was “shocked” to stumble on the “deliberately provocative” publicity stunt. “My family live in Israel and to make a cheap stunt out of an incredibly important and life saving barrier is unforgivable.”
Security Services twice attempted to remove the protest from the area, but the protagonists returned unphased.
SU President, Chris Jones intervened and pleaded with the group to dispand and “move away quietly”. The group eventually dispersed.
But Elinor Rooks and Kalli Tariq-Hamed, from Student Action Palestine, were on hand to promote their cause.
They spoke of their determination to highlight the degrading manner in which the Palestinian people are treated by the Israeli government, and also of their firm belief that the British Government was, in a large part, responsible due to their support of Israel in its occupation of Palestinian territories.
“We owe it to the people of Palestine to help them against the aggressive Israeli insursions.”
Hugo Beiber, Chairman of the Jewish Society on campus, arrived to give a counter demonstration.
Maintaining solidarity with the Israeli people, he branded the demonstration “ineffective” and their message “inaccurate”.
He argued, that if the checkpoints were removed, then there would be “more than twenty suicide bombings each day.” The duty of the Israeli Government, he believes, is to protect the Israeli people.
“The checkpoints are the best way to protect the Israeli people and the Israeli Government were perfectly within their rights to do so” he said.