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“Ceasefire now!” – Volda University College students unite in urgent message on the Israel-Palestine conflict

Students at Volda University College had protested against the war between Israel and Palestine. Holding banners written #STOPP MASSEDRAPET and the Palestinian flag, they demand a ceasefire immediately.

Maher Othman, international representative for Volda Student Parliament said that a lot of students wanted this protest as a form of reaction. He said that the Student Parliament in Volda University College is among the organizations which have reacted for the war.

We had an interview with him when he gave us some details about the protests.

 – Why did you organize this protest and was this organized only by the student parliament in Volda University College, or were there also other universities which organized the same protest?

“Many students wanted it, and I believe there’s not enough attention on the dramatic situation in Gaza. I felt a strong sense of helplessness and the need to take action. The Student Parliament in Volda organized this marking, but other universities in Norway, like Oslomet, have also arranged events for Palestine” – Othman said.

– Do you consider what Israel is doing in Palestine to be a genocide?

“When you confine people to a tiny city, constantly cutting off their food, water, and electricity, even before the 7th of October, and place them in the world’s largest open-air prison where they can’t go in or out without permission. Moreover, what they claim as fighting terrorism, involving the killing of a child every 10 minutes and tens of thousands of civilians and using white phosphorus and dropping bombs that equals two Hiroshima bombs, can only be described as genocide”– Othman responded.

– What will be the best solution to stop the conflict and war according to you?

“Very nice question with a very simple answer, giving back Palestinians their land”– he said.

To have a clear view of this conflict, Maher Othman suggested us to look back at history.

– Should the Israeli government be held responsible for this war?

People only perceive the conflict as if it started on the 7th of October. That’s why they fail to recognize that Israel has violated and continues to violate international laws every day. They overlook the fact that credible sources affirm that Arab Muslims, Christians, and Jews coexisted long before Israel occupied Palestine. So, who is truly responsible for any reaction that occurs? It’s the original action” – Othman responded.

And when we asked about which side we should take, he said that humanity should prevail.

– Should we support Hamas? If not, how are we going to deal with them and Israel?

I won’t tell you whether to support it or not. But I want you to understand that Palestinians are just like any other people; their lives are just as valuable, they have souls, and when they are wronged, they will respond. There are no Hamas or al-Qassam forces in the West Bank, but what happened in the West Bank in 2023? 181 people were killed by Israeli forces, thousands were arrested, and thousands were forcibly displaced, all within the year 2023! So, don’t act as if Israel is the poor oppressed side. They are the real reason why Hamas was created! Just examine their history from 1948 until now, and you’ll see that they are the ones claiming peace while engaging in actions that suggest otherwise” – Othman said.

We also had an interview with Lekishon Laban, a master’s student from Kenya at Volda University College. He describes the situation as a human catastrophe which immediately should stop.

-Can you describe the reasons that motivated you to take part in the protest? 

“I took part in the protest because I have read and understood the history of Israel- Palestine conflict, and the current crisis’s origin. While I don’t support any criminal activities from Hamas, what Israel is doing to Palestine is completely inhuman. You can’t kill civilians, children and women in thousands, with indiscriminate bombings of residential homes, and hospitals, attacking humanitarian aid workers, controlling the flow of humanitarian aid medical equipment and food. You can’t bomb ambulances carrying the injured you have bombed, and completely ignore a world call for a ceasefire. Another reason is for me to add voice to get the US and EU aware, that their Hypocrisy in this war is wanting. They can’t supply weapons and support Israel while pretending to give aid and to call for minimization of civilian injuries. I also attended the event as a descendant of those who were colonized. And I believe Israeli’s occupation of Palestine in Gaza and West Bank for over 70 years and the settlers harassing Palestinians is colonization in the 21st century. I stand with the People of Palestine and can pay any price to oppose Israel”– Laban said.

-How do you describe the situation now in Palestine? 

“I describe the situation as a human catastrophe. The situation is the worst for any kind of human being to go through. Lack of sufficient humanitarian aid and major world powers supporting Israel in killings makes Palestinians feel lonely, isolated, hated and left less human”– Laban added.

As in the protest he also in the interview demanded to stop the war and stop killing innocent civilians.

-What was the main message and goals of the protest?

“My main message is to Israel,’ To stop the Killings of innocent civilians and in the end stop colonizing Palestinians’. I want a ceasefire NOW and a lasting solution to this old-age long conflict”– Laban said.

-Will you participate in other events about this conflict?

“Even a million times. I am passionate about the freedom of the Palestine people”– he responded.

According to him, a ceasefire now is the most important point to stop this catastrophe, followed by humanitarian aid and respecting the UN resolution of 1967.

-Which is the best solution according to you?

“The best solution in my opinion includes:

– Ceasefire now;

– Humanitarian aid now;

– Israel to respect the UN resolution of 1967, give Palestinians their freedom;

– Stop the occupation now;

– Stop colonization now;

– The US and EU interests in this war must be looked into as well”– he said.

Some days after the protest, Pangaia and the Welfare group at Volda University College organised Coffee Dialogue where students gathered together and discussed the topic and how important it is to react and raise their voices to stop the war. Their request for the ceasefire was widely spread on their social media.

According to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs since the first attack on 7 October, 11,078 Palestinians have been killed whom 4,506 were said to be children and 3,027 women. Another 27,490 Palestinians have reportedly been injured. On the other side, Israeli authorities said that the death toll after the Hamas attack is around 1200 people.

Around the world, in different cities, people have been protesting against the war calling for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid.

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