On January 6, 2014, 59-year-old Adel Muhammad Yakoub died while waiting to cross the Ephraim Gate Checkpoint. Witnesses reported that his death was likely a product of the crushing and suffocating circumstances of these checkpoints, which are spread throughout the West Bank as a tool to regulate Palestinian movement.
This tragic incident is not unusual, because deaths occur at checkpoints frequently. Nor is it an abstraction, because as UCLA students we have a relationship to Ephraim checkpoint.
Our university invests in Hewlett-Packard, which provides electronic services needed for the everyday function of Ephraim checkpoint. HP provides biometric scanners that take fingerprint and other data about individuals as they are individually searched and either allowed or denied passage. HP profits from providing these services, and because the UC invests in HP, the dividends from the company's profits also turn into financial gain for students and other members of the UC community.
So while we might feel that what happens in Israel and Palestine is thousands of miles away, the reality is that by investing in and profiting from HP's actions, we have become involved, whether we like it or not.
The question here is simple. Why should we, as UCLA students, invest in a company that profits from the checkpoint system? Why should we be invested in any companies that profit from violence?
If the death of Adel Muhammad Yakoub, a husband and father of seven, appalls you, then it is time to listen to Palestinian students at UCLA who are calling for divestment and are reasonably demanding not to be invested in violence against their own community.
We believe that there is no good reason to invest in violence against Palestinians. Divestment is a tool we must use to remove our complicity in the checkpoint system and other violations of human rights. Support our campaign by visiting www.sjpbruins.com/divest, endorsing our campaign, and spreading the word.