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Pro-Palestinian Student Conf. Held

February 16, 2002

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) _ On Sept. 11, Students For Justice in Palestine folded up their table and left the well-traveled main plaza at the University of California, jolted by the terrorist attacks and the questions classmates threw at them.

This weekend, the group dedicated to Palestinian self-determination was back in action at UC Berkeley with a national conference on pro-Palestine student activism. The conference was expected to draw as many as 300 people from around the country.

It had been scheduled for October but was postponed because of the attacks. In the meantime, old tensions have rekindled in the Middle East.

``We feel that now, the escalation of military aggression by Israel against Palestinian people warrants that activists come together, become organized and start to strategize about how we’re going to end the 35-year military occupation of Palestine,″ said Snehal Shingavi, a conference organizer and member of Students for Justice in Palestine.

The conference, a series of speeches and panel discussions, focused on urging investors to divest holdings in companies doing business with Israel, a campaign modeled after the anti-apartheid movement of the 1980s.

Across the street, members of the Israel Action Committee planned a counter-event: a campaign to raise money for a number of charitable purposes, including aid to victims of the conflict.

``Our message is to say invest in Israel, invest in peace,″ said committee co-chairman Oren Lazar.


On the Net:

Justice in Palestine: http://justiceinpalestine.org

Israel Action Committee: http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/(tilde)iac/

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