Almost a dozen students stormed into the Flying A Room immediately before last night’s Associated Students Legislative Council, distraught over a possible A.S. resolution concerning the crisis in Gaza.
The text of the resolution – a rough draft sent only to council members Tuesday night and not on the agenda for discussion or approval – deems Israel’s attacks “disproportionate and indiscriminate mass violence in violation of international law” and calls for a ceasefire.
According to Representative-at-Large and resolution author Faris Shalan, the legislation was not meant to be seen by anyone outside of the council. He described it as merely a work in progress.
However, Michael Citron, a third-year political science and business economics major, said the concerns voiced in the resolution are not representative of the campus as a whole and instead serve to alienate parts of the student body.
“What I appreciate about this campus is the diversity this campus has,” Citron said. “I urge A.S. to represent that diversity, to not release a statement on an issue opposed to what most students on campus think about the issue.”
Shalan, on the other hand, said the resolution was simply meant to force politicians to act on the crisis.
“My aim in writing the resolution was to put pressure on Lois Capps, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, put pressure to end the humanitarian crisis,” Shalan said. “I have tried to maintain neutrality. I’m not trying to alienate anyone. It’s just a call for the end of the humanitarian crisis and for a ceasefire.”
However, On-Campus Rep Ally Olney said A.S. should have no input on global issues that do not directly affect the student population.
“My issue with the resolution is that it even exists,” Olney said. “It’s a nice thought, but we’re losing sight of what A.S. is supposed to do. We’re not supposed to go around and get this person and that person to respond to an issue. … I can’t even believe we’re having a resolution about countries in the Middle East. Any resolution voted on here doesn’t really count.”
Shalan said A.S. has a close relationship with Congresswoman Lois Capps, and therefore the chances of her responding to the resolution are likely.
“The whole ‘This doesn’t affect us,’ how dare you?” Shalan said. “I would also like to ask council members not to downplay their role. In Lois Capps’ eyes, A.S. spearheaded the 10 thousand voter registrations. To say this doesn’t affect us, we don’t have a role, we shouldn’t be taking a stance – it’s the worst approach you could take.”
Additionally, Shalan said he was shocked that the resolution would divide the student body, because its main concern is the protection of innocent lives.
“I understand the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been going on for a long time,” Shalan said. “All the resolution says is put a stop to civilian deaths. Truth is, it is a war crime. To say it’s a divisive resolution, it doesn’t represent the student body – I don’t see how anyone can justify the deaths of innocent people, ever. I can’t see how anyone can support anything but a cease fire.”
Shalan said he intended to include both American Students for Israel and Hillel when forming the resolution. However, according to Shalan, council members sent the rough draft to ASI before it was ready for public discussion.
“This is a perfect example of a miscommunication,” Shalan said. “I don’t know how the resolution got into ASI’s hands. It has now led to destructive relations with them. It became public too soon, because of that ASI reacted the way they did. If it had been seen in its complete state, it would have gotten a different reaction. It’s unfortunate that a well intended effort would fail because we weren’t tactful in presenting this.”