Statement by 7th World Congress on Israel and Palestine
The quest for a comprehensive peace between Israel and Palestine, based on the co-existence in conditions of security of two sovereign, independent and viable states, requires renewed international attention and support as a highest and urgent priority. Congress asserts that the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 242, (1967), which recognizes the 1967 borders, and 338 (1973), is fundamental to the achievement of a just and lasting peace. Congress recognizes that action to address the plight of Palestinian refugees, also in light of the relevant UN Resolutions, is a key building block for peaceful and constructive relations between Israel and Palestine and their neighbours. Congress further calls for universal recognition of both Israel’s and Palestine’s right to establish a viable and recognized state.
The continued Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the existence of illegal Israeli settlements there and their impacts on the lives of Palestinians including their access to water, along with the siege surrounding Gaza impose severe constraints on the potential for Palestinian economic and social development. It also places hardships for basic provisions of education in Palestine. Congress also notes it is reported that each year hundreds of Palestinian children are held, ill-treated, and prosecuted in Israeli courts as adults in contrast to the treatment of Israeli children who are not legally tried as adults until the age of 18, inconsistent with the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Recognizing the ending of Israel’s presence in Gaza as an important step towards resolving the conflict, Congress calls for the lifting of the blockade on Gaza and the cessation of violence by both sides including the immediate stoppage of ongoing rocket attacks on Israel, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1860 (2009). As a result of the most recent conflict hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are currently in need of shelter and support. Congress calls for urgent action to rebuild a safe and secure learning and living environment for Palestinians in Gaza and to promote decent work and education opportunities for them.
Congress recognizes that economic relations with the settlements help to sustain their existence, in violation of international law.
While every country has the right to defend recognized borders and the lives and well-being of its population, the building by the Israeli government of a separation wall which was devised to protect Israelis from acts of terrorist suicide bombers, intrudes substantially into Palestinian territory and is a violation of international law which can only make peace and mutual coexistence harder to achieve. Congress calls for the wall to be removed and to take other measures that improve Palestinians mobility and access to education, economic and social opportunities, recognizing that the mutual security of and respect between Israelis and Palestinians is central to the quest for peace.
Congress urges both Israelis and Palestinians to renounce violence and commit to engage in direct negotiations. It recognizes that agreement on the status of Jerusalem is central to resolving the conflict, and underlines the urgent and imperative need for the international community to support, in every way possible, the realization of a peaceful and just solution.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian workers are unable to find employment under current conditions, causing widespread despair and disillusion, and Congress calls for urgent action to promote decent work opportunities for them. Congress commits the EI to promote the establishment of cooperation between the Palestinian and Israeli teacher union movements and calls upon the international community to support Palestinian economic reconstruction and development, including through the ILO Palestinian Fund for Employment and Social Protection, and, in particular, through releasing the grant aid for the urgent and essential reconstruction work in Gaza.
Congress reaffirms its commitment to the EI Constitutional Aim to foster a concept of education directed towards international understanding and good will, the safeguarding of peace and freedom, and respect for human dignity. The right to education is key to the realization of the full spectrum of human rights, and the attainment of social justice. All children should be educated using curricula which reinforce peace, tolerance and reconciliation and which vigorously oppose extremism and violence of all kinds
That the EI calls on the leaders of both Israel and the Palestine Authority to enter into good faith negotiations with the objective to create a viable Palestine state, to end the Israeli occupation of the occupied land and to achieve a peace agreement which will provide security for both Palestine and Israel. To be successful the details of such an agreement can only be determined through negotiations between the two parties within the framework of international law.
That the EI calls on the Palestinian and Israeli teachers’ unions to work to encourage their respective governments to take every step necessary to reduce sources of conflict and cease violence between Israel and Palestine in order to lay the ground for a negotiated settlement.
That the EI calls upon all international teachers’ organizations to acknowledge that education is a fundamental right of every child all over the world, serving as a bridge between all people for better, more peaceful lives. The Congress rejects all curricular materials that incite racial and ethnic hatred.
That the EI calls on its members and the international labour movement to publicly lobby for a recognition that the long term prospects for peace will depend on the creation of a viable Palestinian state.
That the EI will increase the efforts of its Middle East Committee to bring EI representatives to the region to meet with their Israeli and Palestinian counterparts and other organizations working for peace and equality within the context of a two-state solution. Congress also calls for the EI to promote education for peace.
That the EI will commit itself to the establishment of a neutral committee of professionals that will examine textbooks of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority and will present its findings to the EI Executive Board with any recommendations for action.