8 July 2024

After 63 days of encampment, weeks of protest suppression from the University, and a pending legal order for our removal, OA4P has chosen to end our Gaza Solidarity Encampment action at the Radcliffe Camera.

In the past two months we have built a historic coalition for Palestine across Oxford, and our movement grows stronger by the day. Rather than addressing its complicity in israel’s genocide, the University has chosen to target those protesting genocide instead. Oxford has sanctioned police violence against its own students, resulting in 17 arrests and dozens of injuries; caged protestors in our Pitt Rivers Museum encampment for 48 hours; desecrated our Gaza Memorial Garden; and now, has forced us out of the Radcliffe Camera encampment with threats of legal and disciplinary action.

The scale of the University’s attacks, dehumanisation, and backlash against our encampments has become untenable in recent weeks. In the interest of our members and of the movement for Palestine, we have decided to redirect our momentum towards other forms of action, organising, political education, and the continued growth of our coalition.

In our founding statement on 6 May, we outlined the ethos of our Liberated Zones: the Arabic word Nidal, embodying and describing Palestinian values and struggle. Nidal, to persevere, to fight for freedom, and to defend with pride.

النضال الفلسطيني كان وسيبقى النضال الذي نقتدي به، وسيحررنا جميعاً

The Palestinian struggle was and will always remain. We look to the Palestinian struggle; it will free us all.

With pride, we close this chapter in order to build the next phase of our movement. With pride, we continue to fight for a new world: one where our Universities refuse to invest or associate with the israeli occupation, and where “educators” do not profit off of genocide.

Our Liberated Zones catalysed the largest movement for Palestine that Oxford has ever seen, and they joined us to a global student intifada which changed the course of history. They channeled our collective power, forced the University to engage with our demands, and prompted steps towards disclosure, divestment, and the rebuilding of higher education in Gaza. These are gains the University had refused to entertain for seven months prior, and they mark clear openings for further pressure.

It was once unthinkable that Gaza would be on the agendas for both Council and Congregation, the University’s chief sovereign bodies. It was unthinkable that motions of support for Palestine and for a Gaza Solidarity Encampment would be passed in more than half of this University’s college common rooms, drawing support from several hundreds of faculty members, thousands of students, over fourteen area trade unions, and dozens of community organisations.

The University thought it could erase this power by targeting our encampments, but the power we have built through the student intifada extends far beyond a physical space. Our next steps will be bolstered by a greater political coalition, deeper moral conviction, and a collective vision for the movement that we did not have before May 6. While we mourn the end of our encampment at the Radcliffe Camera, we are energised to use what we have built to mount an unstoppable mass movement for Palestine in the months to come, both in Oxford and across the world.

In a University that deliberately fragments community with tall gates, gilded halls, and walled-off colleges, our Liberated Zones created a rupture. We claimed the Radcliffe Camera, Oxford’s beating heart, as a site for Palestinian liberation. Students, faculty, staff, and city residents sustained relentless disruption of the status quo in the city centre, forcing the University to reckon with its enabling of israeli genocide, occupation, and apartheid on a daily basis. The days when the University could ignore our movement – and their own complicity in israel’s genocide – are long over. The new status quo is a free Palestine within our lifetime.

Shortly after disbanding camp this morning, OA4P members picketed the Administration offices of Wellington Square. The message was clear: our movement has only just begun.

In the coming weeks we will hold organising assemblies with the students, faculty, staff, and Oxford residents ready to carry this movement forward. We will continue to educate, agitate, build community, and contribute to the ongoing global fight for a free Palestine. Our efforts are not only a moral imperative; they are an inevitability.

For 275 days of israel’s genocide in Gaza, we have watched as israel starved millions of Palestinians; murdered and disfigured children; killed journalists by the hour; and annihilated Gaza’s infrastructures of education, religion, and culture. International condemnation of israel grows stronger by the hour, and it is only a matter of time before the University of Oxford acts on our demands. We will not rest until that day comes.

The world is watching Oxford. Our movement is stronger than ever, and we will not be deterred.

Until Palestine is free!