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Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Matthew+Schaffer
The Parthenon
Matthew Schaffer

A group of 19 Brown University students ended their hunger strike on Friday, Feb. 9, after failing to make headway on urging the Rhode Island university to disassociate from arms manufacturers amid the Israel-Hamas war.

The strike, which began on Feb. 2, lasted eight days. Both Palestinian and Jewish students led the strike, coming from  campus groups Jews for Ceasefire Now and Palestine Solidarity Caucus.

The strike aimed to urge Brown University to stop affiliating with armament production companies such as Boeing and Northrop Grumman, among others, due to their involvement in supplying weapons to Israel; however, a statement from the university  announced on Friday night that the institution would maintain its investments.

“The bar for divestment is very high,” Brown University President Christina Paxson said. “The university consistently rejects calls to use endowment as a tool for political advocacy on contested issues.”

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The morning before the statement, the striking students—along with nearly 150 additional protestors—campaigned for divestment outside of the university’s Faculty Club, where the institution’s governing body was meeting.

Brown’s decision comes in the face of the striking students “along with over 200 student solidarity fasters,” according to a press release from the students on Friday. The release also announced their intentions to continue their pressure on the university’s administration.

“As a community, we have made sure that we cannot be ignored,” Ariela Rosenzweig,  a Jewish student at Brown, said in a statement. “There is not a single individual on this campus who could say in good faith that the Corporation did not discuss us today.”

In October, following the initial attacks by Hamas on Israel that left an estimated 1,200 dead, Boeing announced an expedited delivery of 1,000 bombs to Israel. Meanwhile, Northrop Grumman has been selling weapons to Israel since at least 2008 and is responsible for nearly 4,000 Palestinian deaths prior to the Oct. 7 attack, according to an investigation by the American Friends Service Committee, a religious organization for peace and social justice.

Since Israel’s retaliation after the attacks, over 28,064 Palestinians have died in Israeli air strikes, with the majority being civilian women and children, according to Reuters, an international news organization.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the expansion of the state’s assault with a ground invasion into the Palestinian city of Rafah, where over half of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have fled since the war began.

On Friday, U.S. President Joe Biden announced human rights conditions to the proposed $14.1 billion in additional military aid for Israel after facing heavy backlash amongst the progressive Democrats in Congress and younger voters, a voting block that helped Biden earn his place in the White House in 2020.

Since the conflict broke out, colleges and universities across the nation have seen protests and demonstrations break out on campuses nationwide, including an instance where students at Brown University in December posed a sit-in that also urged the university’s divestment in arms producers, resulting in 41 protesters being arrested.

Despite the protests, the Israel-Hamas war continues with Hamas’ last ceasefire proposal on Feb. 7.  The militant group proposed a sustained military-escalation and hostage exchange and was called delusional by Netanyahu. in a press conference. 

“Continued military pressure is a necessary condition for the release of the hostages,” Netanyahu said in a press conference.

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