York Federation of Students calls Hamas’ attack on Israel “strong act of resistance”

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Ashley D’souza, President of York Federation of Students Photo: Facebook York Federation of Students

The York Federation of Students (YFS) represents over 55,000 undergraduate students at York University, providing cost saving services, equitable events and campaigns advocating for an affordable and accessible education.

York University Graduate Students’ Association (YUGSA) is organized around principles of accessibility, social justice, and equity as it works to improve the learning, teaching, and working environments for all graduate students at York University. The YUGSA is dedicated to providing advocacy and support to all members across various graduate departments on this campus.

On October 12, 2023, York Federation of Students and York University Graduate Students’ Association issued the following statement:

We the undersigned Unions present at York University reaffirm our solidarity with the Palestinian people, within Palestine and the global diaspora, and their ongoing fight against settler-colonialism, apartheid, and genocide. Students’ money should not be invested into weapons & arms manufacturing and funding a genocide. We vehemently condemn all forms of colonial violence and support Indigenous sovereignty.

Please visit the link in our bio for the full statement.


Written on a black background is the text, “Statement of Solidarity with Palestine” in a bold red font. To the bottom right of the graphic are three logos that read in succession: the York Federation of students; Glendon College Student Union; and York University’s Graduate Student Association.]

The full version of the statement:

Statement of Solidarity with Palestine

Content warning: The following statement has content on genocide and ongoing violence in Palestine.

We the undersigned Unions present at York University reaffirm our solidarity with the Palestinian people, within Palestine and the global diaspora, and their ongoing fight against settler-colonialism, apartheid, and genocide. We vehemently condemn all forms of colonial violence and support Indigenous sovereignty.

Recently, in a strong act of resistance, the Palestinian people tore down and crossed the illegitimate border fence erected by the settler-colonial apartheid state of so-called Israel. These resistance efforts are a direct response to the ongoing and violent occupation of Palestine. Since 1948, Palestinian people have been systemically displaced from their land and homes as a result of state-sanctioned violence, siege, and genocide.

In response to Palestinian resistance, so-called Israel has continued to escalate attacks on Gaza by bombing residential neighborhoods, deploying white phosphorus bombs and cutting off access to food, water, power and medical supplies. These tactics are not new. So-called Israel has continually restricted Palestinians movement to & from Gaza, creating an open-air prison and obstructing access to essential resources within the apartheid fence for decades.

From Turtle Island to Palestine, and across all occupied lands, these events serve as a reminder that resistance against colonial violence is justified and necessary. This is “decolonization” and “land-back” actualized as we continue to see the Palestinian people stand firm in their resistance against their oppressors.

We are witnessing clearly how the mainstream media utilizes strategic rhetoric which erases the decades old violence Palestinians have faced and the intentional subversion of responsibility for these atrocities from so-called Israel. Using language like “conflict” and “war in the Middle East” further delegitimizes the Palestinian people’s struggle for self-determination against the apartheid state of Israel by deliberately hindering the ability to acknowledge the ongoing violence as a form of ethnic cleansing. Settler-colonial states like so-called Canada and their institutions continue to legitimize their existence and those of other settler-colonial states making them complicit in the ongoing genocide. York University is complicit as they continue to invest students’ money into weapons and arms manufacturers. We denounce the statements put forth and stances taken by the York University Administration as they use their platform to obfuscate the ongoing occupation of Palestine and absolve themselves from their role in the ongoing genocide.

Our Unions remain unwavering in our support of the Palestinian people’s fight for self-determination and liberation. We actively affirm that Palestinians are inherently entitled to the right to shape their political, economic, social, and cultural future. This struggle confronts the persistent oppression, displacement, and human rights abuses inflicted upon the Palestinian population. We stand firmly in solidarity with those resisting such oppression, actively contributing to the legitimate fight for justice against settler-colonial nations. We as students’ unions have a responsibility to spread awareness and support the liberation of Palestine and all struggles for Indigenous sovereignty.

For more information on the history of Palestine, visit: Decolonize Palestine: https://decolonizepalestine.com/

York Federation of Students (Accessed November 21, 2023)

Executive Team

  • President – Ashley D’souza
  • VP Operations – Rehaan Lachporia
  • VP Campaigns + Advocacy – Gemner Sandoval Fuentes
  • VP Equity – Olivia Ferguson
  • VP Campus Life – Shiniah Mark

College Board Members

  • Seerat Choudhry, Bethune College
  • Emma Bhatti, Calumet College
  • Vacant, Founders College
  • Vacant, Glendon College
  • Nusayba Sheikh Muhammad, Mclaughlin College
  • Vacant, New College
  • Aiden Corrado, Stong College
  • Beyoncé Wallace, Vanier College
  • Mackenzie Hall, Winters College

Faculty Board Members

  • Gabriella King, Arts, Media, Performance & Design
  • Ahem Dhaliwal, Science
  • Vacant, Education
  • Kosy Oraka, Lassonde
  • Nebiyou Timotewos, Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
  • Vacant, Environmental Studies
  • Dina Rawach, Health
  • Arathie Premananthan, Schulich Business

York University Graduate Students’ Association (Accessed November 21, 2023)

Executive Team

  • President – Alireza Gorgani Dorcheh
  • Vice President of Campaigns – Arefeh Shamskhany
  • Interim Vice President of Finance – Nathi Zamisa
  • Vice President of Community – Ali Gholami
  • Student Services Coordinator – Bonnie Cormier
  • Finance and Health Plan Coordinator – Farhat Hasan
  • Resource Coordinator – Sam Nithiananthan

Swords of Iron: War in the South – Hamas’ Attack on Israel

Excerpts from a report published by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (updated on November 16, 2023):

On Saturday 7 October 2023, the religious holiday of Simhat Torah, in an act of war, approximately two thousand terrorists from the Gaza Strip infiltrated Israel by land, sea and air at several locations and advanced towards Israeli communities and population centers. This was carried out in conjunction with indiscriminate rocket fire targeting towns and cities in the south, the center of the country, and Jerusalem with the intent of maximizing harm to civilians.

The terrorists penetrated several southern settlements and began a murderous killing spree of families and individuals in their homes, in the streets and at a music festival that was being held in the area. The terrorists rampaged throughout the region for many hours, during which time they committed atrocities on a scale that have not been seen since the events of the ISIS massacre in Sinjar in 2014.

The evidence found on the ground, the documentation caught on camera by the terrorists themselves and by security cameras, survivors and other sources, as well as survivors’ testimonies, document a horrendous story of attackers devoid of any shred of humanity. Families were slaughtered in their beds, women were viciously raped, and innocent civilians were maimed, killed and in some instances beheaded. In addition, civilians were burnt alive, babies were butchered, and hundreds of men and women were viciously gunned down while simply dancing at a music festival. Upon their return to the Gaza Strip, the terrorists abducted everyone they happened upon – with an emphasis on families, women and children.

Over two hundred Israeli citizens have been abducted and are being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, including small children, women and the elderly. Many of the abductees were injured by Hamas terrorists, many of them need medical treatment and medication, and the condition of many of the abductees is unknown. This is a serious humanitarian crisis and a very fundamental violation of international law, and Israel expects the international community to act in every possible way to protect the rights of the abductees, to ensure proper medical treatment and to provide humanitarian aid to the abductees and their families..

Over the past few days, anti-tank missiles and mortar shells were fired from Lebanese territory at IDF positions on the Lebanese border while terrorists, under the auspices of Hezbollah, attempted to infiltrate Israel.

This means that Israel is at war against the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip. Israel security forces are determined to protect the citizens of Israel on all fronts. The IDF will protect the residents of the State of Israel; the Hamas terror organization and all the terrorists involved in harming the citizens of Israel will pay a very heavy price.

The displacement of tens of thousands of Israelis from their homes in the communities around the Gaza Strip in the wake of the terrorist attack that destroyed their homes and the ongoing rocket fire, and from the northern border communities following the ongoing attacks by Hezbollah on border villages, is posing a significant challenge to Israel. This displacement has intensified the challenging situation in which the survivors of the Hamas massacre in the villages and towns surrounding the Gaza Strip find themselves.

Iran bears direct responsibility for the capabilities of its proxies in the region and therefore also for the use they make of these capabilities.

Additionally, Iran promotes attacks on Israel form other fronts – Lebanon and Syria to the north, using Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations, and from the south using the Houthis, Iran’s proxy in Yemen. This is reflected in the firing of missiles, rockets and mortar shells from the north and the launching of missiles and UAVs towards Israel from the south.

Israel has no wish to expand the fighting into other regions but is ready for such developments and will retaliate fiercely and forcefully. The expansion of the arena of fighting against Israel will be met with a particularly harsh response.

In the aftermath of these events, the extent of Israeli casualties was found to be staggering. The casualty toll in Israel currently stands at approximately 1,400 people murdered and 7,262 wounded. About 239 abductees are being held in the Gaza Strip. There are 287 foreign nationals among the murdered people, as well as 15 among the missing and 120 abducted (including holders of dual citizenship). 34 children – 10 of whom are under the age of 5 – as well as 18 elderly people over 75 are among the abducted.

Over 9,500 missiles and rockets have been fired towards Israel so far. Over 1,000 rockets launched from Gaza have fallen inside the Gaza Strip, often resulting in injuries to Gazan residents and infrastructure – including hospitals and schools.

  • Hamas is holding approximately 239 abductees captive in complete denial of their rights and in violation of international law.
  • Israel demands that the Red Cross be permitted to visit abductees and supply medicine and medical treatment and expects the Red Cross and the international community to take measures to ensure their safety and to work for their release.
  • Approximately 250 thousand Israelis have so far been displaced from their homes in the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip and the northern border and dispersed in various shelters throughout Israel.

IDF forces are operating currently at Shifa Hospital (Wednesday, 15 November), following an early warning that was given to the hospital’s administration. The forces have provided humanitarian equipment, including medicines, baby food and other supplies to the hospital. The forces are accompanied by Arabic-speaking soldiers and medical staff, to ensure the supplies reach their proper destination.