‘You have blood on your hands’: SOAS Palestine Society confront Palestinian Ambassador

Members of SOAS Palestine Society confronted the PA at an event at the university

Students at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) protested on campus on Wednesday 17th January in response to a visit by the Palestinian Ambassador (PA), Husam Zomlot.

Invited to the university to deliver a talk, Husam was met with student demonstrators from SOAS Palestine Society who protested against his presence on campus.

The Ambassador’s speaking engagement was disrupted by the vocal protest outside the lecture theatre where he was due to speak, with protestors criticising what they believe is Husam Zomlot’s complicity with Israeli actions in Palestine.

SOAS Palestine Society shared footage of Husam inside the university, where one student from the Palestine Society at SOAS University in London could be heard shouting: “You have blood on your hands! You’re a PA collaborator… Shame on you!”. The protest resulted in Husam cancelling his speech and departing early from the campus.

Expressing its concerns, the SOAS Palestine Society issued a statement on Instagram several hours later, condemning the Palestinian Authority and Husam. The statement specifically takes issue with Husam for representing the Palestinian Authority, which the SOAS society contends is “complicit in Zionist aggression in Palestine.”

In the Instagram post, the SOAS Palestine Society strongly condemned the PA’s role in normalising relations with Israel and suggests his collaboration with Israeli intelligence, including the sharing of information with American and Israeli intelligence officials. The post read: “For years now, this collaboration has come in the form of security coordination with Israel and America as the PA pass intelligence to the Zionist entity and America allowing the IOF to raid towns in the West Bank and arrest Palestinians.”

Additionally, the post contends that the PA has been suppressing dissident activity in the West Bank: “This collaboration also means that weapons and aid are provided to the PA by the Zionist entity and America to aid them in suppressing dissent in the West Bank by violently attacking protests and arresting critics of their government as well as critics of Israel.”

The video footage can also hear the student speaking to Husam, saying: “You’re coming here to represent the Palestinian people, shame on you. You are not welcome here. You are not welcome to our campus.”

Husam, who completed his PhD in International Political Economy at SOAS in 2007, was unable to speak to students as a result of the protest.

Signed in September 1993, the PA was established as part of the Oslo Accords. Under this agreement, Israel recognised the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) as the representative of the Palestinians through the creation of the PA. The PLO, in turn, “renounced terrorism” and acknowledged Israel’s right to exist.

The creation of the PA was intended to pave the way for an independent Palestinian state, but currently, it operates under the control of the Israeli military.

This news comes in light of recent developments regarding the suspension of members from the SOAS Palestine Society. The Palestine Society have emphasised the importance of students and academics coming together to fight for Palestinian liberation, but this recent incident has only inflamed tensions on campus once more.

SOAS University of London and Husam Zomlot have been contacted for comment.

Featured image via Instagram @soaspalestine

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