SANTIIAGO – Students of Chile’s largest public university, Universidad de Chile, voted to endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement Monday as the Israeli forces targeted unarmed protesters on Gaza border amid the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem.
At least 61 people were killed by the Israeli military and more than 2,000 injured along the Gaza border in the largest number of fatalities suffered in one day since the latest round of protests began more than six weeks ago, the Palestinian Ministry of Health announced.
Students from the Department of Philosophy and Humanities voted to sever ties with the University of Tel Aviv and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The departments of Medicine, Social Sciences and Law have also endorsed the campaign for a university “free of Israeli apartheid.”
According to BDS Chile, the two institutions are built on former Palestinian lands and are linked to the development of military technology that enables the systematic oppression of Palestinians and Israelis who oppose Israel’s military occupation.
Ninety percent of the student body cast their votes to adhere to the international BDS movement, a non-violent Palestinian initiative to pressure Israel to end the occupation and recognize Palestinian refugees’ right to return to the lands they were expelled from in 1948, when Israel was created.
In 2017 over three quarters of the Medicine students voted to endorse the academic boycott, and in 2016 an overwhelming majority of students of the departments of Social Science and Law also voted in favor of BDS.
Chile has the largest Palestinian community outside the Arab world and has recognized Palestine since 2010.
Palestinians in Gaza, mostly refugees, began the Great March of Return on March 30, Palestinian Land Day, to claim their right to return of the over 6 million Palestinian refugees worldwide. Since then, protesters have gathered every Friday near the border fence with Israel where they have been shot by Israeli snipers despite posing no immediate threat to life.
In the 1948 war, 957,000 Palestinians, or 66 percent of the Palestinians who lived in historical Palestine, were expelled and displaced.
On Monday, one day before Palestinians commemorated the Nakba Day, the U.S. unveiled its new embassy in the occupied city of Jerusalem. The move provoked new border protests in which Israeli occupation ofrces shot and killed at least 60 Palestinians.
Since the Great March of Return began, Israeli forces have killed over 100 people. Not one Israeli soldier was injured during these protests. Illegal use of violence by Israeli forces has been condemned worldwide.