The pro-Palestine student collective authorized to stay one more night at UNIGE – rts.ch

The pro-Palestine student collective authorized to stay one more night at UNIGE – rts.ch
The pro-Palestine student collective authorized to stay one more night at UNIGE – rts.ch

In Geneva, representatives of the pro-Palestine students who have occupied the UniMail hall since Tuesday met members of the rectorate of the University of Geneva (UNIGE) on Wednesday. The demonstrators won the right to sleep one more night there.

The interview with the rectorate was described as constructive by a student from the movement. Three members of the Student Coordination for Palestine-UNIGE (CEP-UNIGE) were asked to participate, on Thursday, in a scientific council which is to discuss the role of the university in public debates in general.

The demands of pro-Palestinian students will be addressed during this meeting, members of CEP-UNIGE told the media. The occupants of UniMail are demanding in particular the suspension of collaboration agreements between UNIGE and Israeli universities and research institutes.

UNIGE has agreements with two Israeli universities, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv University, the institution’s spokesperson Marco Cattaneo said earlier in the day. He added that due to the ongoing armed conflict, the level of activity of these collaborations “has dropped drastically.”

>> Listen to the explanations live from UNIGE:

The occupation of the Uni Mail hall by pro-Palestinian students continues at the University of Geneva / 12:30 p.m. / 2 min. / today at 12:36

In the event of participation in this scientific council, CEP-UNIGE would undertake to no longer occupy the UniMail hall at night. She would continue to do so only during building hours. Pro-Palestinian students would therefore be required to leave the building on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Professor Frédéric Esposito, of the Global Studies Institute, propelled as mediator between the rectorate and the protesting students in this affair, noted that the meeting on Wednesday between the two parties allowed each to present their positions.

Banner in question

According to Frédéric Esposito, one point of the discussion focused on a black banner hung on UniMail by pro-Palestine students on which the phrase “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” appears. In the eyes of some, this message can be interpreted as a refusal to allow the State of Israel to exist.

The phrase is controversial because it is used by anti-Semitic groups, noted Frédéric Esposito. The rectorate would have liked the banner to be removed. But the CEP-UNIGE promised clarification on the theme, added the professor. Contextualization and explanations will be provided through a QR code and a flyer.

The rectorate is satisfied with this explanation for the moment. The banner will therefore remain in place until further notice.

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The movement continues at UNIL

On the Lausanne campuses, only the occupation at the University of Lausanne (UNIL), where the movement began last Thursday, is still in progress. Discussions between students and management were underway on Wednesday, with a possible announcement mid-afternoon or late in the day on the status of the situation.

On the EPFL side, the protesters’ occupation was lifted on Tuesday around 5:30 p.m. Discussions on their demands were planned for the end of the day with management, with a possible announcement at the start of the evening.

ats/asch

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