Over 2,000 students at New York University received mock eviction notices on the morning of April 24th. Every resident in the Lafayette and Palladium residence halls was told to evacuate their dorm, which would be demolished within three days. The flyers were clearly fake — with the words “THIS IS NOT A REAL EVICTION NOTICE” scrawled across the bottom – yet they are grounded in a disturbing reality: since 1967, approximately160,000 Palestinians have received similar notices, only to witness their homes destroyed by Israeli forces shortly after. The purpose of this action, led by New York University’s Students for Justice in Palestine, was to draw attention to this reality Palestinians face daily.
Through its policy of housing demolitions, Israel aims to ethnically cleanse Israel/Palestine of its Arab inhabitants in a systematic manner. The rate at which this policy is carried out is astonishing. In 2012 alone a total of 600 Palestinian structures were demolished by the Israeli authorities, including at least 189 homes displacing 880 Palestinians, 468 of whom were children. Thousands more are displaced due to the demolitions of animal shelters, water cisterns, and other structures related to their livelihood or because of the destruction of infrastructure, including roads. These demolitions are illegal under international law, breaching article 53 of the 4th Geneva Convention.
Accusations leveled against SJP claimed that the action targeted Jewish students; this is erroneous and no objective evidence has been cited to support these allegations. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. At its very core, SJP is a group opposed to ethnic discrimination and institutionalized racism. Racism is not limited to the practices of the Israeli government, and opposing policies and racist rhetoric, including anti-Semitism, is vital. The students in SJP and the participants in this action come from diverse, including Jewish, backgrounds. This action addresses only one of the many horrific aspects of the occupation that Palestinians face daily. NYUSJP will continue working towards ending these injustices.