Israel-Palestine: Teachers condemn violence against children and civilians

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) condemns, in the strongest possible manner, the atrocities committed against innocent children and civilians in Palestine and Israel in recent days. There is no justification for the slaughter of innocent children. We call on the international community to intervene immediately.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (as of today, 18 May), 520 people have been injured. Media reports today note that at least 212 people, including 61 children, have died in Gaza and 10 people, including two children have died in Israel. This bloodshed must end.

The INTO support calls by Education International for the international community to respect the rights of all children and adults to safe and secure learning and teaching environments, where students can learn in peace. We further support calls from across the political spectrum for an immediate, lasting and fully respected ceasefire.

As a member of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), the INTO, and unions across the country stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people. We note that unions representing teachers in the region have held a general strike today and stand in solidarity with them. We agree that an immediate end to violence must be accompanied by a meaningful international solution that will bring an end to the intolerable conditions that exist in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including east Jerusalem, as detailed by Human Rights Watch.

Condemnation must be accompanied by peaceful but tangible international action to halt the violations of international law which have resulted in the expansion of illegal settlements, the displacement of Palestinians and the blockade of Gaza. As a member of ICTU we support calls for the implementation of the Control of Economic Activities (Occupied Territories) Bill, which was passed by majorities in both the Seanad and the Dáil.

INTO General Secretary John Boyle commented:

We have watched with incredulity the footage streaming into our homes in the last week. That innocent children should be killed in such a barbaric manner is an insult to our humanity, demonstrating an abhorrent denial of basic human rights. We call on all sides of this bitter conflict to enter into a truce and to recommit themselves to peaceful dialogue, remembering the sacred duty we all have to keep our children safe. On this island, we found a pathway towards peace after a prolonged and bloody conflict through hard work and dialogue based on the fundamental principle of respect for basic human rights. The appalling Israel-Gaza violence must end immediately to allow the peaceful approach that worked so well in Ireland to be replicated.