Encampments are being organized on campuses across the United States, Canada, the U.K., and other countries in response to the Israeli military assault in which at least 34,596 Palestinians have been killed and 77,816 more injured.

The encampments have highlighted divestment as a demand.

Starting with a solidarity encampment at Columbia University last week, U.S. college students have called on their schools to divest from weapons manufacturers, tech companies, and other entities that work with the Israeli government, and have demanded a ceasefire.

The Columbia University Apartheid Divest group wrote in its list of five demands: “Divest all of Columbia’s finances, including the endowment, from companies and institutions that profit from Israeli apartheid, genocide and occupation in Palestine.”

The Associated Press also notes “the demands vary from campus to campus [but] among them: Stop doing business with military weapons manufacturers that are supplying arms to Israel.”

More specifically, students at the University of Texas at Dallas are calling on the university administration to divest from five companies: Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Corp and Raytheon Technologies.

And The Yale Daily News notes that while only 0.3 percent of Yale’s $40.7 billion endowment fund is publicly disclosed, “within the known 0.3 percent, there is evidence that Yale invests more than $110,000 in military weapons manufacturers, including companies that directly contract with the Israeli government and military.”

Al Jazeera reported Thursday that despite law enforcement's violent response to protesters, demonstrations have sprung up at dozens of schools.

Criminal liability for universities

Common Dreams now reports: “As U.S. campus protests and the aggressive police response galvanized a growing number of British students to set up their own encampments at universities across the country on Wednesday [May 1], a legal group informed dozens of higher education institutions in the U.K. that their investments in weapons manufacturers could leave them open to criminal liability stemming from human rights violations by Israel.”

That article adds: “The International Center of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) warned officers at 82 universities that if they have profited from investments in companies including Elbit Systems, Caterpillar, and BAE Systems, their financial holdings may be linked to weapons used by the Israel Defense Forces in its current escalation against Gaza.”

Citing Article 25 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, ICJP director Tayab Ali says: “Aiding, abetting and in any other way assisting in the commission of a war crime including ‘providing the means for its commission’ is a war crime.”

While universities are being cautioned about their criminal liability, it is students who are being criminalized. More than 2,000 students have been arrested over the past two weeks at encampments on US campuses.

We continue to follow this.

Peace Brigades International supports the demand for an immediate ceasefire and continues to call “on the international community to suspend the supply of arms to Israel and the armed groups involved in the conflict.”