Above photo: Students occupied the “Orientale” University of Naples in solidarity with Palestine.
University students in Naples occupied their university to demand a ceasefire.
And an end to cooperation between their university and Israeli institutions.
On the morning of November 6, 2023, the students of the “Orientale” University of Naples, Italy, occupied their university to demand an immediate ceasefire in Palestine and the interruption of all collaboration of the Italian university with political, economic and military institutions of Israel.
Since October 7, the Gaza Strip has been uninterruptedly under siege by the Israeli forces, aided by the silence and complicity of the United States, Western governments and, not least, the Italian government. The student declared: “What we are witnessing is a true genocide: while Gaza is cut off from food, water, fuel and medical supplies, the bombings continue day by day and indiscriminately, targeting homes, schools and hospitals.”
The students point out that the massacre taking place against the Palestinian population did not start today: “It has been 75 years that the Israeli government is illegally occupying the territories of Palestine; today, Israel is even using weapons banned by all international conventions such as white phosphorus bombs.”
To date, some 10,000 Palestinian men, women and children have been killed. The students continue: “It is under the eyes of everyone, the Israeli government is demonstrating its true intent, which is an ethnic cleansing.”
With the occupation, the students are above all targeting the Italian university which has continued to legitimize the ongoing massacre: “We denounce the behavior of our universities as ‘places of knowledge’. Today, we are hearing only one voice here, it’s the one of the Israeli government. With the occupation of our university, we bring the voices of the Palestinian resistance into it.”
The students have pointed out that there are several points of political, economic and military collaboration between the Zionist State and the Napolitan universities. In their protest, they have focused on two key connections.
The first is Med-Or, a foundation of Leonardo, leader in Aerospace, Defense and Security and partially owned by the Italian government, which holds 30.2% of the company’s shares and is its largest shareholder. The Med-Or foundation was set up on the initiative of former Interior Minister Marco Minniti; Roberto Tottoli, the current rector of “Orientale” University, is part of the foundation’s international Council which collaborates with the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) affiliated to the Tel Aviv University.
Second, the protocol of understanding between the “Orientale” University of Naples and the Command of NATO signed in 2022. The two institutions cooperate and exchange information in order to “mutually improve skills and knowledge in the political, social, economic and infrastructural fields”, with particular reference to “crisis management processes and strategies”. Students at the “Orientale” University are invited to participate in NATO division exercises.
The students conclude: “We demand that the university publicly expresses itself in solidarity with the Palestinian resistance and engages actively for an immediate ceasefire; that the university publicly acknowledge the genocide of the Palestinian population for which the Israeli government is responsible; that the university publicly condemn the human rights violations and war crimes committed by the government of Israel; and finally, that the agreements between “Orientale” University, the Israeli universities and the military institutions cease immediately, as they are complicit in the settler colonial oppression and apartheid.”
The sit-in has continued for a second day and students vow that they will continue until their demands are met.