Feature Photo: SFP Protests Lina Khattab’s Conviction

Elizabeth Dobbins, News Editor

Members of Students for a Free Palestine Kaela Sanborn-Hum, College senior, and College sophomore Kai Shinbrough prepare an exhibit in Mudd library on Monday protesting the imprisonment of Lina Khattab, an 18-year-old journalism student, activist and Palestinian who was arrested while attending a protest outside the Israeli Ofer Prison in the West Bank. Khattab was protesting on Dec. 13, marking the 47th anniversary of the founding of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, when she was arrested. She was later charged with “throwing stones” and “participating in an unlawful demonstration” by military prosecutors at Ofer Military Court. She was sentenced to six months in prison, three years’ probation and a $1,500 fine by an Israeli military court on Feb. 16.

According to the Palestinian activist website Samidoun and an SFP pamphlet about Khattab, the charges of “throwing stones” and “participating in an unlawful demonstration” are commonly used against young Palestinian activists.

College senior and SFP member Victoria Velasco said this action was an attempt to highlight injustices against Palestinian women.

“It’s important for Palestine solidarity groups to draw attention to violence against Palestinian women such as Lina Khattab and Rasmea Odeh,” Velasco wrote in an email to the Review. “While general news regarding Palestinian resistance is systemically silenced in U.S. mainstream media, that of women is particularly ignored even within Palestine solidarity circles. On the campus of our elite liberal arts college, students are reluctant to engage with anything that reminds them of their own complicity in state violence, whether in the U.S. or elsewhere.”

On Monday, members of SFP rolled a wheelbarrow full of rocks into Mudd library — an action which inspired one onlooker to call Safety and Security — and, with the permission of the library, assembled a pile of rocks representing Khattab’s charges near the first floor entrance. A sign above the rocks and a pile of pamphlets described the purpose of the exhibition.

“Of course, one impetus for creating an installation like this was to raise a general awareness on campus about the injustice of Khattab’s imprisonment and the systematic injustice it represents, which many students may unfortunately be oblivious to if they are not directly involved in Palestine solidarity work,” wrote College senior and SFP member Jacob Ertel in an email to the Review. “But we also wanted to demonstrate, on a visceral level, the ridiculousness of what Khattab was actually sentenced for: throwing rocks. The pile of stones forces the viewer [to] reckon with the power imbalance inherent in the occupation; there’s no way to normalize it.”

The exhibit was assembled for Israeli Apartheid Week, which ended March 12, and will be displayed until Monday, March 16.