The Rising Youth Movement Against Israel-Gaza Conflicts in Europe

The student protests have quickly spread to reach wider audiences in Europe.
Some universities have announced that they will continue their collaborations with Israel by not accepting student demands.
The impact of the protests has led universities to review their policies on this issue and engage in dialogue with students.


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Recently, there has been an increase in student protests at various universities in Europe. These protests often emerge as a response to Israel’s military operations in Gaza. Israel’s policies towards Gaza are widely criticized in the international community and have led to civilian casualties and humanitarian crises.

Israel’s military operations in Gaza have resulted in civilian casualties, human rights violations, and humanitarian crises. This situation has been widely criticized in the international community. The student protests in Europe are a reflection of this criticism and a way for young people to express their concerns and anger on this issue. The student protests have often been influenced by similar actions in the United States and have quickly spread to reach wider audiences in Europe. Students are demanding the termination of collaboration with Israel at their universities and expressing these demands in various ways.[1]

With the intensification of protests, there has been an increase in clashes and arrests as well. Tensions arise between police intervention and student activists. This situation indicates that the protests are not only taking place peacefully but can also escalate into violent conflicts.

Some universities have announced that they will continue their collaborations with Israel by not accepting student demands. This situation highlights the political stances of universities and their international relations. The response of university administrations has sparked a debate on how student actions are being evaluated.

The support demonstrations for Gaza by university students in Spain have garnered attention, especially with the backing of over 2,000 academics and the absence of police intervention. Thousands of students across various regions in Spain staging protest demonstrations against Israel’s war in Gaza have led to massive Palestinian flags waving at universities.

More than 2,000 faculty members witnessed protests at many Spanish universities supporting the demonstrations. The protests, which began at Valencia University, demanded an end to Israel’s campaign in Gaza and triggered one of the largest protests in the country’s history.

In statements made at many universities in Spain, calls have been made for respect for human rights and a call for a permanent solution to Israel’s military actions in Gaza. Protesters demand an end to the genocide in Gaza and call for all relations between the government and universities and Israel to be terminated.

The demonstrations related to Palestine in Spain have emerged as a response to the conflicts at universities in the United States. These protests are also in line with the political stance of the Spanish government towards recognizing the state of Palestine.

Student movements in Spain have played a significant role in the country’s social change. In 1966, an independent student movement emerged, which played a pioneering role in the democracy movement leading to the overthrow of the government.[2]

Similar sit-in protests are taking place across Europe. Following the violent police intervention faced by their peers in the United States, young people in the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom, Finland, Denmark, and Germany are staging similar protests at universities.

Approximately 125 activists were detained by police to disperse a Palestinian camp at the University of Amsterdam. Similar interventions occurred at Sciences Po University in Paris, where demonstrators were not allowed to occupy classrooms. However, in Spain, historically supportive of the Palestinian cause, police have not intervened to disperse the protests so far.

These protests, particularly in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, and Austria, have led to clashes and arrests. Students are demanding that universities end their collaborations with Israeli institutions due to Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

In Germany, student protests have continued at the university campus in Leipzig. A group of students occupied classrooms with banners reading “Occupation of the University Against Genocide.” Police have initiated legal proceedings against 13 individuals suspected of unlawfully entering classrooms. At Freie Berlin University, police intervened when protesters set up camps, arresting some demonstrators on charges of incitement to hatred and unauthorized presence.[3]

In Switzerland, protests have occurred at universities in Lausanne, Geneva, and Zurich. Despite demands from students at the University of Lausanne to end relationships with Israeli universities, the university has stated that there is no need to terminate these relationships.

In Austria, at the Vienna University campus, a group of demonstrators has been camping and displaying banners since Thursday, May 9, 2024. The protesters continue their protests against Israel’s attacks on Gaza. [4]

The impact of the protests has led universities to review their policies on this issue and engage in dialogue with students. Some universities have taken steps to meet student demands and have committed to ending collaborations. Others have attempted to negotiate with students and reach agreements.

Protests have increased awareness of Israel’s attacks in Gaza. People worldwide are calling for peace and a fair solution, while the international community is encouraged to take more steps in this regard.

The global reach of student movements has many reasons, one being the power of social media. Students have effectively used social media platforms to share information, organize, and garner support worldwide. This has enabled the movement to spread rapidly and reach broader audiences.

Another factor contributing to the global spread of these protests is the increasing awareness and political consciousness among young people, especially university students. Young people are now not only concerned with the internal affairs of their own countries but also with injustices worldwide, actively mobilizing to voice their concerns.

These protests have also sparked some debates. Particularly concerning is the transformation of protests into violent actions at certain points and the use of prejudiced or discriminatory rhetoric by some groups. Therefore, it is important for protests to be conducted peacefully and in accordance with democratic values.[5]

[1] “Student protests against Israel’s war on Gaza spread across Europe”, Aljazeera, (Date of Access: 10.05.2024).

[2] “Support from lecturers and no arrests as Spanish students protest for Gaza”, Aljazeera, (Date of Access: 10.05.2024).

[4] “Student protests against Gaza war spread in Europe, sparking clashes and dozens of arrests”, France24, (Date of Access: 10.05.2024).

[5]  “Student Gaza protests in Europe spread, sparking clashes and dozens of arrests”, RFI, (Date of Access: 10.05.2024).

[v] “Why have student protests against Israel’s war in Gaza gone global?”, The Guardian, (Date of Access: 10.05.2024).

Hazal KÖSE
Hazal KÖSE
2023 yılında Hacettepe Üniversitesi Fransız Dili ve Edebiyatı Bölümü'nden mezun olmuştur. Ayrıca İngiliz Dili ve Edebiyatı Bölümü'nde yandal yapmış ve çeşitli kamu kuruluşlarında staj deneyimleri kazanmıştır. İleri düzeyde İngilizce ve Fransızca bilmektedir.

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