By Jillian McIntosh
Youngstown State University students attended an open forum discussion called Palestinian’s Response to the Israeli Aggression at the Arab American Community Center on Oct. 11.
The military of Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist political party in charge of Gaza, invaded Israeli territory Oct. 7.
Batool Alkarain, a sophomore international business major, attended the forum. She is the vice president of the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at YSU. Alkarain said the purpose of the organization is to inform the campus community about the Palestinian and its history.
“We want to spread more awareness and invite people to come so they can ask us questions,” Alkarain said. “We can give them more information about what is happening right now, tell them about the history and educate them more.”
Alkarain said the organization was created to promote peace.
“We have this organization, just because we want to have peace. That’s what we are calling for, we call for peace for everyone,” Alkarain said.
Mousa Kassis, YSU’s network director of Ohio Small Business Development Center Export Assistance, was one of the panelists at the forum. He explained what peace means for Palestinians.
“The word peace means [to be] more in-depth about giving the people their rights, and especially the Palestinian people after 75 years. Also their rights for freedom and liberation, just like every nation on earth,” Kassis said.
Kassis said Palestinians are often misrepresented in news coverage.
“This is for our Palestinian community and Arab community, I know that you listen to the media and sometimes you really get upset about the facts,” Kassis said. “Be proud if you are Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, Christian, for all our Palestinian brothers to get their rights back and fighting to establish peace.”
Raneen Musleh, a senior political science major, also attended the discussion. She said having family in Palestine is heartbreaking.
“I have family that live in Palestine, so this is heartbreaking,” Musleh said. “It’s honestly hard to focus on everyday life because I am over here in America, privileged, while my family in Palestine is suffering.”
Musleh said the purpose of her advocacy is to raise awareness.
“I am somebody’s daughter, and I know they worry about me,” said Musleh. “People might say I might get a target on my back for the things I post, more of trying to educate people. It’s not me trying to fight with people. It’s not a religious issue, it’s nothing like that.”
Students can join the SJP chapter on campus and attend meetings. Information about upcoming events will be posted on social media @sjpysu.
Editor’s Note: Tala Alsharif is the current president of SJP and works for The Jambar. She had no editorial participation in this story.