The statement by Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani comes as students across universities in Doha rallied against a pro-Israel statement sent out by their parent campuses in the US.
The CEO of Qatar Foundation sent out a heartfelt message of solidarity with Gaza on Thursday, standing behind students who have actively engaged in global awareness campaigns since Israel launched a massive and brutal campaign on the besieged Strip.
Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, who also serves as the Vice Chairperson of the Qatar-based educational organisation, said she has been heartened by the response from students enrolled at universities across the foundation.
“Witnessing such grave tragedy, I am heartened by the response from our QF community – with our students leading the way – from raising awareness and debunking fake news on social media platforms, to holding discussions in the classroom and coming together to pray and find ways to support from afar,” a statement released on Thursday said.
Sheikha Hind said she is “committed to extending our support to our community in any activities you may wish to initiate in solidarity with the Palestinian cause”.
“Like so many of you, I have been witnessing the news and events unfolding in Palestine and I am horrified at the scale of murder and destruction being carried out in Gaza, and the ensuing suffering and humanitarian crisis.
“I know that many of you have family and friends in Palestine and are concerned for their immediate safety, especially those in Gaza. I join you in praying for their safety and send my heartfelt condolences to those of you who have lost loved ones there,” the statement read on.
Sheikha Hind, one of the most influential women in Qatar and the region, signed off with an unapologetic stance in support of Palestine and its people’s right to freedom and life, saying: “Finally, let there be no doubt about this – QF always has and always will stand with Palestine.”
Sheikha Hind made her stance clear while students at some universities in Qatar have rallied against statements sent by their institutions’ main campuses in the United States in recent days; statements that have turned a blind eye to Israeli atrocities against Palestinians and the continued war crimes being perpetrated by the zionist state.
On Thursday, VCU students were left outraged after receiving a message denouncing “the savage, barbaric assaults committed” against Israelis with no mention of the more than 1,500 Palestinians killed by Israel.
In a post shared on Instagram, one social media user described the message as “insensitive”.
“VCU sent the most insensitive and unprofessional email to students at their US and Qatar campuses regarding the genocide occurring in Gaza. Do they not have a level-headed Communications person to (at LEAST) write a neutral and professional email supporting all affected by the tragedy?”
“Turns out American universities all over are sending biased and inflammatory emails to their students,” she added.
Similarly, professors and students at Georgetown Qatar also issued statements condemning the main campus for omitting critical perspectives and understanding of the ongoing situation in occupied Palestine in a message sent to students.
In a detailed letter, Associate Professor of Arabic Literature at GUQ, Omar Khalifah, addressed what he described as a false narrative painted by Georgetown President John J. DeGioia’s recent email.
“President De Gioia’s message suggests that Israelis were targeted simply because they were Jews. The reference to the Jewish Sabbath, along with the invocation of the Yom Kippur War, draws a false picture of a quasi-religious war,” Khalifah asserted, further clarifying that in neither historical cases were Israelis targeted because they were Jews. “Both are political acts of resistance against a colonising, political force.”
“The message flagrantly mischaracterises the nature of the recent escalation of violence and provides no context for understanding the actual events on the ground,” he added.
The professor was particularly disturbed by DeGioia’s dismissal of the critical situation in Gaza.
“The message’s total silence about the situation in Gaza is unfathomable.” He further criticised the portrayal of the resistance’s actions, stating that the message paints them as “inexplicable, irrational, and bloodthirsty acts,” while failing to mention “Palestine” or “Gaza” even once.
the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at GU-Q denounced the terminology and underlying Zionist narrative in DeGioia’s email.
The group at GU-Q issued a statement in condemnation of the university’s president’s letter.
“The bias in President DeGioia’s message and the apparent silence of the Georgetown administration is palpable. Describing Palestinians merely as terrorists, while portraying settlers as innocent victims, whitewashes decades of occupation, displacement, and the undeniable struggles of the Palestinian people,” their statement read.
The student organisation also highlighted the clear absence of solidarity from the GUQ administration and faculty. “For a campus enriched by a significant Palestinian student presence, such lack of support is both disheartening and alarming.”
“Faculty are also part of the problem. We demand all faculty members to speak up and practice the framework of decolonisation they teach in classes,” they said in a tweet following their statement.
Separately, students at the University of Doha For Science and Technology stood in solidarity with Palestine on Thursday after visiting speaker and astronaut Dr Anna Fischer referenced ‘Israel’ while pointing towards an image taken of the region from space.
Dozens of students were filmed chanting in support of Palestine as part of a planned rally at the campus on Thursday afternoon.
In a statement sent to Doha News, the University of Doha For Science and Technology said: “As a National University we stand firm with our government’s position, in support of the Palestinian cause and its victims.
“The University is following up on this matter, and due action will be taken.”
On October 7th, Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups launched the largest attack on Israel in years, attacking occupation soldiers in the south, killing hundreds of soldiers and capturing dozens.
Since declaring war on Saturday, Israel has killed more than 1,500 Palestinians including more than 400 children.
Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has also declared a full siege on Gaza while describing Palestinians as “human animals”.
“I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed. We are fighting human animals and we act accordingly,” Gallant said during the announcement.
Human Rights Watch has condemned the act of using starvation as “a weapon of war,” while the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, emphasised the blockade’s breach of international humanitarian law.
In the early hours of Friday, the Israeli military sent out an evacuation warning ordering more than 1 million Palestinians to leave their homes in Gaza City amid speculations of a looming ground invasion. Many human rights groups have described this as a declaration by the zionist state to ethnically cleanse Gaza of its people and commit a second Nakba.
The United Nations urged Israel to call off the “impossible” demand and warned of “devastating humanitarian consequences”.