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Israel-Hamas War impacts Princeton University campus

Princeton University

College campuses have faced increased tension as the Israel-Hamas War continues to escalate.

In the days that followed the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks in Israel, rocket strikes in Israel and Gaza, and the beginning of the Israel-Hamas War, Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber issued a statement on Oct. 10 saying their work as researchers and teachers “must make space for the recognition of suffering, for time to grieve and heal.”

He called on Princetonians to “treat each other with grace and compassion” during this difficult time.

“Even in a world wearied and torn by violence and hatred, Hamas’ murder and kidnapping of hundreds of Israelis over the past weekend is among the most atrocious of terrorist acts,” Eisgruber said. 

“This cruel and inhumane attack has provoked a bloody war that has already claimed the lives of thousands of Palestinians and Israelis and will tragically take many more as it continues.” 

He noted that “Princeton is a community that embraces many Israelis and Palestinians among its cherished members, as students, faculty, staff, and alumni.”

“Even more have friends or relatives directly experiencing this awful violence. The nightmare underway in Israel and in the Palestinian territories is being deeply felt on this campus,” Eisgruber said.  

“That pain will inevitably continue in the months ahead. My heart goes out to everyone personally affected.” 

Since then and with more than week of the Israel-Hamas War as of Oct. 18, more than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed and close to 200 people were captured and taken into Gaza by Hamas, according to Israel.

The Gaza Health Ministry said 3,478 Palestinians have been killed and more than 12,000 injured.

Princeton’s campus was one of many across the country feeling the impact as vigils, rallies, and public panel discussions took place in the last week.

A Princeton Stands for Israel vigil recently occurred outside Frist Campus Center on Oct. 12, as well as a vigil held by Princeton Students for Justice in Palestine outside Nassau Hall that followed the next day on Oct. 13.

“Families are devastated. A barbaric attack on innocent civilians shakes us to our core. But we will not be defeated by terror,” Rabbi Eitan Webb, co-founder of Chabad at Princeton University, said at Princeton Stands for Israel vigil.

Princeton Students for Justice in Palestine on Oct. 13 issued a statement in part that read, “While we all wish for peace, simple calls for “de-escalation” are superficial at best without demanding a complete end to the occupation. We reject any discourse that uses the word “terrorism” to describe Palestinian attacks on Israel while not using the same label for Israeli state violence that is the everyday reality for Palestinians.”

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