Education organisations condemn attacks, demand talks

Education International (EI) and the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) have issued a statement condemning the “severe attack” Hamas launched against Israel but also appealed to both sides to renounce violence and commit to direct negotiations for peace.

“Education International stands in solidarity with the teachers, students and communities in the region and calls on the international community to do their utmost to stop the bloodshed and avoid a catastrophic humanitarian crisis,” said the statement which was first issued on 9 October and updated on 13 October.

Hamas militants broke through the Israeli border on 7 October. They gunned down people attending a music festival, from which 260 bodies have been recovered.

Testimony has also emerged of militants going from house to house in a kibbutz (a small community collective), breaking and entering and shooting civilians, including women, children and babies. Many homes were found burned out, Reuters reported.

They also reportedly took more than a hundred people hostage including elderly people, women, children and babies.

In response Israel has vowed to terminate Hamas’ ability to operate and has dropped more than 6,000 bombs on infrastructure in the Gaza Strip – leaving 583 children and 351 women dead according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza. Israel is preventing food, water and fuel from entering the Gaza Strip unless the hostages are freed.

By Friday 13 October the death toll in Israel had reached 1,300 and in Gaza was almost 1,800. Thousands of civilians had been injured on both sides.

‘The violence must end’

David Edwards, Education International general secretary, said: “The Hamas attack on Israel is unacceptable. Educators around the world stand with our colleagues, students and communities in Israel and Palestine and denounce the violent aggression. The violence must end.

“Our hearts go out to the families of all who have lost their lives. The international community must stand united in condemning any form of violence and in supporting lasting peace negotiations.”

Susan Flocken, European director of the ETUCE, which is the European region of EI, said: “Teachers, academics and their unions in Europe are shocked by the new outbreak of violence in Israel and Palestine.

“ETUCE condemns the military aggression and expresses its support and solidarity with colleagues, teachers, academics and students and all people in the region. This new outbreak of war and retaliation puts the lives of millions of people at stake. The war must end. We call on the international community to do their utmost to support a peace agreement.”

EI reiterated the call of the 2019 EI World Congress urging both Hamas and Israel to: “Renounce violence and commit to engage in direct negotiations.”

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