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On Wednesday 20th of October, students at the University of Manchester voted overwhelmingly to maintain its union’s twinning with An-Najah National University in the Westbank. General Meetings are the most powerful decision making body in the union in which all students are invited to vote on motions which the union executive must enforce. The twinning, set up back in 2007 has been key in giving the silenced majority of Palestinian students a voice, making them feel less isolated and able to communicate their struggle to our campus.
Through the years, the twinning has resulted in several articles being published in the union paper, delegates from the Palestinian university visiting our union as well as web links and other events. The twinning has come under attack by an extremist minority which have tried to undermine the twinning by forcing An-Najah to condemn terrorism; something which it had done explicitly in its original twinning declaration and also which was tacitly implied.
Appalled, students came out in their droves to attend what was one of the largest then general meetings in which 800 students voted to protect the twinning and reject what was essentially a racist amendment. Since then, the Palestine movement has become stronger and more resolute, passing a ‘Gaza Crisis’ Motion which compelled the union to boycott Israeli products and explicitly referred to their state practice as apartheid in a general meeting which has been the largest in the union’s recent history. Now the Palestine movement’s resolve is as strong as ever as students made it loud and clear they wanted to continue their solidarity with the students of occupied Westbank.