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Cambridge Uni agrees to meet with pro-Palestine activists demanding divestment from Israel

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY has succumbed to pressure and agreed to meet pro-Palestine activists, less than a day after students escalated their campaign.

Students demanding divestment from firms complicit in Israel’s war crimes had expanded their camp outside King’s College, also taking over the lawn outside Senate House, before the university administration agreed to meet activists to discuss preconditions for negotiations. 

A Cambridge for Palestine spokesperson said: “This is a successful example of protest action working to achieve our goals — we are determined to extend this success in getting our university to divest from all financials fuelling the genocide in Gaza and Palestine.” 

Meanwhile, students in Liverpool who have been camped out for 10 days are demanding that the university acknowledge their presence and enter negotiations.

“They’re kind of pretending we’re not here,” said a spokesperson for the camp, which now has amassed around 60 tents.

“If you check the university guild’s Instagram, or the library’s, they’re posting photos of the park from two years ago.”

They said the group would “love to hear” from Tim Jones, the university’s vice-chancellor, but emails sent to him and his secretary have received no reply.

Students have been demanding divestment from firms such as BAE Systems, which produces parts for the F-35 combat jet being used to bombard Gaza, and Hewlett Packard, which provides technology for the surveillance of Palestinians.

“Obviously, the uni has an ethical investment form and that doesn’t align with what BAE systems and HP and all these other companies are doing,” the spokesperson said.

Safety has been a concern. A man came twice to harass the camp, in one incident he played the jingoist song Rule Britannia outside tents at 3am.

A video of the incident has been shared on far-right media sites, sparking more threats.

The camp spokesperson said it was “just wrong that people can say this online and the university won't even acknowledge it.”

From student support they “get emails about ‘feel-good February,’ or well-being check-ins, but they don't account for anything, it’s all just gibberish.”

Despite this, activists say there has been great public support. A local restaurant provides the camp with food and lecturers visit and do teach-outs.

Poet Don Kufi da Sufi had earlier been performing spoken-word pieces at the camp on Abercromby Square, which activists have renamed Alareer Square after Palestinian writer Refaat Alareer.

He said: “One of the poems I did today was a poem I wrote in 2009. All the statistics are out of date. And it’s horrific to hear that same poem now because it is dwarfed by what’s gone on. 

“But it’s also crazy — we were that outraged before, and it’s like no-one ever listened.

“I don’t know how much compassion you must lack to not feel something when people die — let alone use the death of people to enact your political goals.”

He added: “That sounds a lot like the definition of terrorism.”

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