EIS Statement on Israel and Palestine Conflict Escalation

Created on: 19 Oct 2023

The EIS is appalled and deeply concerned by the escalating violence against civilians in Palestine and Israel, and at the deepening humanitarian crisis that the latest development in the conflict has prompted.

We stand with the wider trade union movement across the UK in support of the UN call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, and for the UK government and the international community to show leadership in promoting efforts to uphold the principles of international law, secure peace and protect civilians.

The EIS unequivocally condemns the attacks by Hamas and its brutal murders of civilians in Israel in this recent escalation of violence. We call for the immediate, unconditional release of all hostages unharmed.

Neither the killing of Israeli civilians nor what the UN has described as the collective punishment, illegal under the Geneva Convention, of the people of Gaza, will end the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel, or bring about peace.

The loss of human life is devastating across both territories. Approximately 1500 Israelis were killed as a result of the Hamas attacks. Latest figures indicate that almost 4000 Palestinians have been killed by bombing in Gaza, with approximately 12000 injured.

The EIS calls for an immediate stop to the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force in Gaza.

We are deeply concerned over the plight of Palestinians who live in Gaza and of the humanitarian workers from around the world who are there supporting the Palestinian people. The current siege of Gaza by Israel, which comes on top of a 16-year air, sea and land blockade, has cut off food, water, electricity, fuel and medical supplies.

This is leading to what can only be described as a humanitarian disaster which is also undermining the rights of the people of Gaza to remain in their homes.

The EIS calls on the UK government, the Scottish Government and the international community to support the immediate opening of humanitarian corridors to facilitate access to humanitarian aid which is urgently needed.

As a teachers’ union, we are deeply concerned with the reported destruction of 18 UNRWA schools and 70 Palestinian Authority schools already. The result is the denial of safe education to more than 600,000 children and young people in Gaza, with this number only likely to grow. This will have a long-lasting impact on the children and young people of Gaza and their teachers.

Not only are teachers and their pupils likely to have lost the means of delivering decent education but the scale of destruction and loss of life are likely to induce significant trauma, the impact of which will last for decades to come. 

We extend our solidarity to fellow teacher trade unionists whose professional and personal lives are being seriously impacted by the conflict.

We extend our condolences to those who have lost family and friends to violence. And we stand with those who oppose efforts to fuel anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim racism in Scotland and the wider UK as a result of these events.

We reiterate our call for an end to the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and the blockade of Gaza, respect for all Palestinian rights, including the right to self determination and the right to return.

The EIS reiterates our support for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace that is consistent with international law and is based on a two-state solution, and security for both Palestine and Israel which promotes democracy, equality and respect for human and labour rights.

The EIS remains of the view that the only way to reach a just resolution to the conflict in Israel between and Palestine is through dialogue.