Teach in Peace (@robwilsonwork, 2018)
Teach in Peace (@robwilsonwork, 2018)

Education International calls for urgent humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza

published 7 November 2023 updated 13 November 2023

Education International (EI) calls on the international community to urgently implement a humanitarian ceasefire to stop the killing of students, teachers, and all civilians in Gaza. EI also calls for an end to the Israeli bombardments and military actions which have caused the death of thousands of civilians, including over 130 teachers as reported by EI members on the ground.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territory (OCHA) reported that more than 10,000 people, including over 4,000 children have been killed in the past month. In addition, approximately 2,260 individuals are reported missing in Gaza, and at least 42 per cent of all housing units in the Gaza Strip have been either destroyed or damaged. The bombings have also destroyed 219 educational institutions and 9 Universities.

The General Union of Palestinian Teachers (GUPT) and the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUPPE), members of Education International, reported at least 130 teachers killed.

Education facilities remain closed, denying more than 625,000 students access to education. Many educational facilities are used as shelters, despite being unsafe due to damage or the threat of further attacks. Movement restrictions and violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem further hinder access to schooling.

EI calls for the implementation of a genuine peace agreement that ends the bombardment, secures the release of all hostages including children, and restores the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Immediate humanitarian ceasefire

"The bombardments launched by Israel across Gaza have been indiscriminate and disproportionate. The hostages must be released and the bombings must stop. We condemned the attack by Hamas against civilians in Israel, and we condemn the military assault against the civilian population in Gaza," declared David Edwards, General Secretary of Education International.

"We will continue to engage with our member organizations in both Israel and Palestine, emphasizing the critical importance of dialogue and the preservation of the values of democracy, education and peace,” he added.

Education International is also deeply concerned about the rise in hate speech and of antisemitism and anti-Islamic acts exacerbated by the violence in the region. EI reiterates that all educational institutions must remain free from hate, and ensure the safety and wellbeing of students, teachers, and learning communities.

Especially during times of war and conflict, teachers and education support personnel should receive guidance and support in addressing discrimination within educational settings. They play a pivotal role in fostering inclusivity, diversity, and respect, and are key to creating environments where students and staff can learn, grow, and thrive without fear of hate and discrimination. Moreover, educators can help students develop critical thinking skills and media literacy to counter the spread of disinformation.

EI extends its unwavering support to all students and educators in the region and remains committed to advocating for a peaceful resolution, the protection of schools, universities, and educational personnel, and the prioritization of education in relief efforts.

Education International reiterates the call of the 2019 EI World Congress urging all parties to: “Renounce violence and commit to engage in direct negotiations."