Tensions grew at Columbia University between anti-genocide protesters and the university administration. Talks between university officials and protesters have faltered, with Columbia University President Nemat Minouche Shafik announcing that negotiations have failed. Shafik urged the protesters to voluntarily disperse, although the consequences of their refusal remain unspecified.

The administration, facing scrutiny from a campus oversight panel, has been faulted for its handling of the protests, with the encampment being deemed a violation of university rules.

Central to the protesters’ demands is the issue of divestment from assets supporting Israel’s military —an issue that the university has thus far refused to entertain. In response, Columbia has offered alternative investments in health and education in Gaza, as well as pledged to enhance transparency in its direct investment holdings. However, these concessions have failed to satisfy the protesters, who continue to demand divestment, financial transparency, and amnesty for disciplined students and faculty.

The situation at Columbia reached a critical juncture when President Shafik summoned the New York City police to dismantle the encampment, resulting in over 100 arrests. The number of arrests in the US has exceeded 900 since the removal of a pro-Palestinian and anti-genocide protest encampment at Columbia University, with colleges increasingly urging students to dismantle tent encampments as the semester concludes.

In Paris, police cleared dozens of anti-genocide protesters who had established a presence in the courtyard of Sorbonne University. The demonstration followed similar protests at Sciences Po University just days earlier growing solidarity among students in France against Israel’s war on Gaza. During the peaceful protests, Sorbonne University closed its buildings for the day, as students chanted “Free Palestine” and called on the institution to condemn Israel’s atrocities in Gaza and other occupied Palestinian territories.

Speaking at a rally outside Sorbonne, a student named Leonard highlighted the need to condemn the situation, referencing incidents at Yale, Columbia, and Sciences Po.

Meanwhile, several European member states are ready to recognise Palestinian statehood by the end of May, according to the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

On the diplomatic front, Egypt’s Foreign Minister expressed optimism about a new proposal for a Gaza ceasefire, coinciding with the scheduled arrival of a Hamas delegation in Cairo for talks. The United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, highlighted an “extraordinarily generous” offer extended to Hamas. UK Foreign Minister David Cameron revealed proposal for a 40-day ceasefire.

Hamas’s response to the ceasefire deal is expected soon.

While diplomatic efforts to seek a truce continue, and Hamas is demanding a complete cessation of hostilities. Hardline Israeli ministers are cautioning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against agreeing to a truce with Hamas, warning of potential government collapse if concessions are made.

In addition, there are concerns that potential ICC warrants against senior Israeli government officials could jeopardise ongoing efforts to negotiate a hostages-for-ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas. In Israel, legal action looms over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other government officials, as concerns mount that the International Criminal Court (ICC) may issue arrest warrants against them.

Despite the ongoing efforts to achieve a ceasefire, Israel is continuing its relentless bombardment of homes in Gaza. In overnight Israeli attacks on Rafah and Gaza City, Israel killed at least 27 Palestinian, with the majority being children and women. According to recent reports, Israel has killed at least 34,488 Palestinians and wounded 77,643 in Gaza since 7 October.