Dutch scholars echo solidarity for Palestine, as death toll rises to 2,450

October 15, 2023
2 mins read
Image: Addison Y. Liu/ The Harvard Crimson

Amidst the horrific escalation of casualties and widespread devastation in the Gaza Strip, a collective of Dutch academics and activists have issued a fervent call to action, urging university employees, students, educators, and professors to redouble their efforts to end the ongoing Israeli aggression in the occupied Palestinian territories.

“As we write these lines, an eliminatory assault is being waged by the state of Israel against the Palestinian people in Gaza. This is not hyperbole. After nearly a week of shelling the strip indiscriminately, including the use of white phosphorus, destroying the Rafah crossing – its only available exit point, ambushing people trying to escape, and cutting all access to food, electricity, water and medical supplies, Israel is now calling on 1.1 million people to evacuate before its ground assault. This is both cynical and brazen,” the statement by the Dutch Scholars for Palestine (DSP) said.

Emphasizing there can be no justice for Palestinian people who are enduring apartheid, colonial domination, and living in an open-air prison, the DSP highlighted the alarming comments made by Israeli officials who have called for genocidal flattening of the enclave, with some politicians calling for extreme measures such as the use of nuclear weapons, while others demanding a repeat of the Nakba, a reference to the displacement of Palestinians during the establishment of Israel.


Questioning the notion of Israel’s “right to self-defense”, the Dutch Scholars for Palestine – a network of academic and cultural workers committed to solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for liberation and self-determination, pointed out that many Western governments were turning a blind eye or actively supporting Israel’s actions. “This is mass murder on an extraordinary scale,” it stated, adding that both the US and the UK have sent warships to demonstrate their continued active support for Israel’s colonial rule over Palestinians, while the European Union has stated its support for Israel’s assault on the people of Gaza. 

The statement also raised concerns over the repression of Palestinian solidarity movements with France banning all Palestine solidarity demonstrations, Germany criminalizing the displaying of the Palestinian flag, and the Netherlands’s Justice and Security minister dismissing the importance of historical context to the current situation. “The first response by universities across the Netherlands, instead of encouraging discussion, debate, and informed analysis, was to call on people to refrain from doing so within their communities,” it noted, adding: “Our governments are not only shielding and green lighting Israel’s genocidal actions, but also justifying their own. For decades, they have blindly supported Israel – militarily, diplomatically, and economically.”

The statement urged people to pressure their governments to withdraw support for Israel’s actions, promote critical inquiry and debate, and endorse boycotts against Israel. It also expresses solidarity with Palestinian universities and academics who are facing extreme challenges during this period. “The priority of every single concerned university worker, student, and others is to mobilize in support of Palestine. We can’t watch this genocidal war happen in front of our eyes in silence,” it noted.

The statement underscores the urgency of not returning to “business as usual” and encourages the organization of a sustained, long-term movement in the Netherlands to support the Palestinian struggle for freedom. Here is the statement in full.

The death toll in Gaza increased to 2,450 people and 9,200 injured, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza said.


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