EI issued a statement on 25 July, calling for an immediate end to the violence in the Middle East which is taking the lives of innocent civilians, including many children.
The global union federation representing education personnel all over the world calls for an immediate halt of the hostilities.
“While Israel and Lebanon have the right and responsibility to protect their citizens against violence, military action that kills innocent civilians is intolerable among civilized nations, and cannot be dismissed as being just an incidental consequence of war,” states EI.
“Teachers everywhere, including in Israel, Palestine and Lebanon, want to build for the future, educating children and young people in a spirit of hope, not despair.”
You will find below the full text of EI’s statement dated 25 July 2006:
EI STATEMENT ON THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Innocent civilians, including many children, are paying the price of the latest escalation of violence in the Middle-East. The hostilities should cease immediately while the Hezbollah must be disarmed in accordance with UN Resolution 1559.
While Israel and Lebanon have the right and responsibility to protect their citizens against violence, military action that kills innocent civilians is intolerable among civilized nations, and cannot be dismissed as being just an incidental consequence of war.
The use of terrorism as an instrument of combat must be strongly condemned, for terrorism by its very nature is indiscriminate, and innocents inevitably pay the price. Militants who rationalize terrorism in support of their cause are morally wrong, as are the States who support them.
The situation in the Middle-East today is the latest example of the tragedy of escalation. The extremists on all sides feed off each other. Peacemakers and nation-builders such as Rabin and Hariri have been assassinated, opportunities to establish lasting peace have been missed, and the extremists have rachetted up their campaigns of mutual hatred.
Populations have been caught in the middle, with suicide bombings that have stretched the nerves of Israelis to the limit, with Palestinians subjected to repression and humiliation, and the Lebanese being kept hostage by a pervasive climate of fear.
The EI World Congress of 2004 called on ‘governments and other parties to conflicts to:
- Respect international law, in particular the UN Charter, the Universal declaration of Human Rights, and the principles of humanitarian law enshrined in the Geneva Conventions;
- Reject all forms of terrorism and specifically to reject policies which lead to military attacks on civilian populations either by states or by non-state forces.
That same Congress reaffirmed its commitment to: ‘promote peace with justice for both Israelis and Palestinians’ and called for ‘the establishment of a just peace in this region which will eradicate the terror of individuals, groups and states and end suicide bombings.’
With the mandate of Congress, EI has been working with its Israeli and Palestinian affiliates to pursue the path of peace, development and justice in the Middle-East. A special EI Advisory Committee for the Middle East has been established which is exploring activities that EI could undertake to support the peace process. Both Palestine and Israeli member organizations of EI are represented on this Advisory Committee. The tragedy within the present tragedy is that all such efforts by EI and other civil society organizations sharing these goals are negated by the escalation of violence.
Instead of development there is destruction. Even when the present offensive is over, reconstruction will take years. EI is highly sensitive to the appeal received from its Lebanese affiliate and the sense of desperation felt by the colleagues there.
Like their colleagues in Palestine and Israel, like teachers everywhere, they want to build for the future, educating children and young people in a spirit of hope, not despair.
EI calls for all the parties to the current escalation, and all those who have influence on them, to pull back from a course which could be incredibly dangerous, to respect international law, to ensure humanitarian action, and to work with the United Nations and organizations of civil society for lasting peace with justice in this troubled region.