As Hamas drew worldwide condemnation, the student organizations took the controversial stand, taking into account the historical roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Tensions between Jews and Palestinian Arabs rose in the early 1900s ultimately resulting in the declaration of the state of Israel in 1948. Consequently, this led to fighting, displacing over 700,000 Palestinians, and sparking territorial disputes that continue to this day.
"From systematized land seizures to routine airstrikes, arbitrary detentions to military checkpoints, and enforced family separations to targeted killings, Palestinians have been forced to live in a state of death, both slow and sudden," the statement read. (Related: Video: Portland State University college students donate money to Hamas to "destroy Israel.")
At least 1,300 people were reported killed and more than 100 Israelis were taken hostage by Hamas, as reported by CNBC.
Lawrence H. Summers, former Harvard president, expressed his disappointment with the situation, while U.S. politicians and Harvard alumni also shared their strong opinions on the matter. The conflict on campus mirrors the broader debate surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian issue, with different student groups taking varying stances.
Harvard President Claudine Gay condemned the terrorist acts committed by Hamas and emphasized that the student organizations do not represent the official stance of the university. However, she acknowledged their right to express their views.
"The school condemns the terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Hamas. Such inhumanity is abhorrent, whatever one's individual views of the origins of longstanding conflicts in the region," she said.
While acknowledging students' right to "speak for themselves," Gay said they don't have the right to speak on behalf of Harvard.
The students' statement also drew rebuke from Summers, also an erstwhile U.S. treasury secretary, saying he was "sickened" by it.
Several Republican lawmakers took turns to criticize the statement, including Harvard alumnus Ted Cruz, who wrote on X: "What the hell is wrong with Harvard?"
Boaz Barak, a Harvard computer science professor, also took to social media to condemn the letter and ask the university to remove the student groups’ school affiliations.
"I have a lot of criticisms of Israeli policies, but everyone who signed this statement is condoning terrorism, rape and murder," he said.
Beyond the statement, a significant number of individuals affiliated with Harvard attended a gathering to mourn those affected by the attack on Israel.
Similar debates and conflicts related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have arisen on other Ivy League campuses, contributing to ongoing discussions and divisions among students.
Among the groups that signed the letter calling on Harvard to "stop the ongoing annihilation of Palestinians" are the Harvard Law School Justice for Palestine, the Harvard Jews for Liberation and the Harvard South Asian Law Students Association.
Following the post of the letter, the account of the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee, the author of the statement, had been temporarily suspended.
The group branded the move "a recurring pattern of Meta's censorship of pro-Palestine messaging."
Meanwhile, Gaza Strip's only power station stopped functioning after running out of fuel due to Israel's blockade. That leaves 2.3 million people without electricity, as well as hospitals and other facilities that deliver essential services.
Medical workers have issued an SOS, with doctors warning limited generator capacity will soon run out. Fears of a ground invasion of the coastal enclave heightened after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to "destroy" Hamas.
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