GSA Statement on Ceasefire in Gaza

The Graduate Students Association continues to strongly support the international calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. We recognize the devasting impacts of the current events on Palestinian, Israeli, Muslim, Jewish and Arab students in our campus community, some of which have been directly impacted by the ongoing violence in Palestine and Israel. We grieve the devastating loss of thousands of innocent lives and there can be no moral or ethical justification for the deliberate killing of civilians, regardless of the circumstances. We also unequivocally condemn the growing amount of antisemitism and Islamophobia being displayed locally and internationally, and we are here to support and provide a safe and inclusive environment for all our students.

The atrocities perpetrated by Hamas on innocent civilians, international students and migrant workers in Israel on the 7th of October amount to unspeakable crimes. However, these acts do not justify the daily committal of abhorrent war crimes by the Israeli authorities against Palestinian civilians. These indiscriminate attacks and war crimes amount to collective punishment to the people of Gaza who since 2007 have been illegally blocked in by land, sea and air by the Israeli government.

We echo the calls by leading human rights organizations for an immediate ceasefire to protect the innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza and we reiterate the calls for the end of unlawful attacks on civilians in the West Bank. We also join calls to prevent the arming of the Israeli state and the companies involved in the infrastructure of blockade. We urge the international community to work together to address the root causes of the conflict, including through the dismantling of Israel’s system of apartheid against all Palestinians. We advocate for diplomatic efforts that prioritize the well-being of all the civilians to establish a just and lasting resolution in the region.

In our local community, the GSA is committed to providing a safe, supportive, and inclusive environment for all our graduate students irrespective of race, ethnicity, or religious beliefs. We strongly condemn any acts of violence, discrimination, or hate towards any individual. We reiterate that there is no room for antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism, harassment, and discrimination of any kind within our campus, local community and beyond. In these challenging times, we sincerely encourage our students to demonstrate empathy and kindness, uphold respect for one another and prioritize each other’s well-being. Let us all continue to uphold these values to our fellow students and community members to ensure our collective well-being.

GSA urges students to prioritize their mental health and wellness during this difficult time. If you or someone you know needs support, we encourage you to seek mental health and wellness support available through Conversation and the Student Wellness Centre.

This statement was put forward to the GSA Council for voting on November 27, 2023 after multiple consultations with the GSA Council and the GSA Board after the Student Issues Actions Committee Meeting on October 12, 2023. This statement was approved by the GSA Council after a majority vote on Monday, November 27, 2023.

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