The campaign calling on Princeton to divest from Israel. No more war profiteering, no more upholding apartheid, Princeton out of Israel now!

A Last Day at the Princeton Gaza Solidarity Encampment

PRINCETON, NJ, MAY 15—Three weeks after its establishment, the Princeton Gaza Solidarity Encampment is open for its last day on May 15, 2024 — 222 days since Israel escalated its genocide in Gaza and a week into its invasion of Rafah. Our fight for divestment and Palestinian liberation continues undeterred.

We established our encampment on April 25 as part of an international student intifada for Palestinian liberation. For 21 days, we held our ground — first at McCosh Courtyard, then Cannon Green — through rain, cold, heat, and forced lack of shelter and sleeplessness. We pressured the university through the launch of our encampment, the peaceful sit-in at Clio Hall, the student-led hunger strike, our Popular University for Gaza, and our continued presence despite relentless intimidation and harassment.

After refusing to meaningfully engage with us, President Eisgruber and university administration stepped up its intimidation, pressuring the camp to close yesterday, the day before Nakba Day. Today, we hold our space to mourn the Nakba of 76 years and honor Palestinian political and cultural resistance, including our small role in it. 

Over the past three weeks, we built solidarity beyond the gates of Princeton in a place where too many of us have felt isolated and alienated. We made central what has ceaselessly been pushed to the peripheries. We sang, chanted, recited poetry, held each other, strengthened our movement for the future, and forced a blood-soaked institution to confront its complicity daily. We built the world we want to see, founded on and guided by Palestinian life, not erasure. 

This encampment grew into a space for and by the greater community that has kept us nourished, warm, and safe. We honor our shared grief and undefeated hope for Palestinian liberation. We honor every person who has made this moment of our movement possible — everyone who has stayed through the night, spent hours cooking, or cleaned blankets after torrential rain. We honor every martyr, today and every day.

We keep us safe. We have been doxxed, subjected to racist attacks, and sent death threats. It is the administration and police that has endangered us by surveilling, threatening, and arresting us for protesting a genocide. Public Safety and university administration harassed us at every turn as we cared for the health and safety of our hunger strikers. They cited opaque “structure” codes to prevent hunger strikers from sheltering during pouring rain, while the university falsely claimed to monitor their health. While the administration displaces accusations of violence onto the protestors, we at the encampment know firsthand their dehumanizing carelessness toward us and toward Palestine.

We are capable of more than we ever knew possible. We have sustained this encampment for three weeks, even after Princeton forced us to remove our tents under threat of arrest on the very first morning.

Our encampment is a chapter in the campaign for divestment within our lifetimes. For 21 days, this beautiful, communal space has been our home, and its spirit will persist through all other forms of struggle.

We reject the university’s attempts to deradicalize and divide us through endless processes, meetings, and committees. Our demands remain the same — with or without an encampment. Our movement is not tied to any one place, but to the community of organizers who have been fighting apartheid and calling for divestment for over fifty years. The student intifada is here, and it is here to stay.

Our success lies in the resilience of our movement. Israel’s US-backed genocide of Palestine continues, and here, on the grounds of this crumbling institution, in the heart of a decaying empire, we will continue to gather and organize for Palestinian liberation. As our friends at Harvard put it, “the Liberated Zone is everywhere.”

Remember, Princeton: this is not one camp. This is a movement.

See you at Reunions.

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