Human shield set for Palestine

April 18, 2003

A PhD student from Queen Mary, University of London, was travelling to Palestine yesterday to become a human shield.

Lina Jamoul, a student in human geography, has volunteered to take part in non-violent protests against the Israeli occupation on behalf of the International Solidarity Movement, based in Bethlehem.

This may entail staying in houses that are due to be demolished, protecting children on their way to school or monitoring checkpoints for human-rights abuses.

The organisation is also running a campaign to protect university premises.

Ms Jamoul told The THES : "It doesn't feel enough now to send letters to MPs or to demonstrate. The situation is so urgent that I need to do something more."

Last Saturday, a student activist from Manchester Metropolitan University was shot in the head as he tried to help a Palestinian woman and her children flee Israeli gunfire. The activist, 21- year-old Tom Hurndall, was also trained by the International Solidarity Movement. As The THES went to press, he was in a coma and on a respirator in an Israeli hospital.

In March, a US activist, 23-year-old Rachel Corrie, was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer.

Ms Jamoul said that although these events had frightened her, they had not deterred her. "The people there don't have the choice to leave the danger, so I feel compelled to do something against the Israeli occupation," she said.

Ms Jamoul helps to organise the Friends of Palestine Society at Queen Mary.

The society has brought Palestinians to the university to talk about their daily experiences.

Other students from the society are now considering following in Ms Jamoul's footsteps and going to Palestine.

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