With a large population of Jewish students and a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, Penn's campus is not isolated from the debate surrounding Israel and Palestine.
After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid a visit to President Trump on Feb. 15, the conflict is in the news again, and on students' minds.
“I think there is a better personal relationship between President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu [than under the previous administration],” College junior Hannah Jaffe said. Jaffe is the Israel sector chair for Penn Hillel, the center for Jewish life at Penn.
“Hillel’s goal is to make all students on campus, Jewish and not Jewish, comfortable and safe,” Jaffe said, noting that Penn Hillel tries to be apolitical and does not take a specific side on many issues.
However, Jaffe noted that Penn Hillel believes that “the two parties [Israel and Palestine] are going to need to negotiate directly and make mutual sacrifices.”
Penn Democrats said that they support a two-state solution that facilitates peace between Israel and Palestine.
“We encourage efforts to sustain an open dialogue and lasting peace in the [Middle East] region,” said College sophomore Erin Farrell, the communications director for Penn Democrats.
The two-state solution would divide up the region's contested territory into two separate states, creating, in the words of The New York Times, “two states for two peoples."
Farrell added that the Penn Democrats will further discuss the evolving relationship between the United States and Israel in an upcoming meeting.
Penn College Republicans did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Penn Students for Justice in Palestine was critical of the outcome of the Trump-Netanyahu meeting.
“Trump’s request for Netanyahu to halt the building of settlements was shrugged off [by Israel],” College senior Rashad Nimr said. “6,000 housing units have been ordered since the inauguration in January.”
Nimr is a member of Penn Students for Justice in Palestine and works on external relations for the organization.
During the meeting between Netanyahu and Trump, the Israeli Prime Minister said that America was the “best friend Israel could possibly wish for,” according to CNN.
In return, Trump lauded Israel for working with the United States to facilitate peace in the Middle East. He also said that he does not favor a two-state solution over the alternative.
"I'm looking at two state and one state, and I like the one that both parties like," Trump said, per CNN. "If Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I'm happy with the one they like the best."