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

Education International calls for an immediate stop to the disproportionate and indistinct retaliation in Gaza

published 14 October 2023 updated 6 December 2023

In the face of escalating violence in the Gaza Strip, Education International called upon the Israel War Cabinet to end the suffering and destruction and to respect the principles of the United Nations Charter and international humanitarian law. The appeal reminds the parties to return the captives, protect the lives of civilians and preserve civilian infrastructure, including educational and medical facilities, throughout all Palestinian territories.

A situation of grave concern has arisen from the indiscriminate and disproportionate bombardments launched by Israel across the Gaza Strip, spanning from air and sea to land. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reports that at least 88 educational institutions have been directly targeted. This includes the destruction of 18 UNRWA schools and 70 Palestinian Authority schools. The result is the denial of safe education to more than 600,000 children in Gaza, and now, the Gaza population is being asked to evacuate to the south, with nowhere truly safe to seek refuge.

Education International supports the United Nations agencies and human rights organisations in condemning this disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force, wherein civilian populations and buildings have been subject to direct targeting by airstrikes. Parties to a conflict should distinguish between combatants and civilians and between military objectives and civilian objects. Proportionality dictates that any attack on a military objective must not cause excessive harm to civilians or civilian objects compared to the military advantage expected.

Education International previously denounced the terrorist attack launched by Hamas against Israeli civilians. To break the cycle of violence, Education International emphasized the necessity for the international community to unite in a resolute denouncement of all forms of violence. The consequences of armed conflict are far-reaching and devastating, with profound impacts on the people in the region, who have the right to a future free from violence and war.

Education International expresses unwavering solidarity with the teachers, students, and communities in the affected region. We have consistently engaged with our member organisations in both Israel and Palestine, emphasising the critical importance of dialogue and the preservation of the values of education and peace. Our commitment to our member organizations in the region remains steadfast. However, the severe repercussions for civilians alarm us, prompting a plea to the warring parties to respect international law.

Education International will continue to monitor and document violations, submitting reports to the Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council, including the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education.