Citizens International

Europe’s largest teachers’ union endorses Israel boycott call

The largest teachers’ union in Europe has passed a resolution backing a boycott of companies profiting from Israel’s illegal settlements and occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The National Union of Teachers which has more than 300,000 members in England and Wales, adopted the motion on Palestine (see Motion 31) at its recent annual conference. The vote was conducted by a show of hands, and passed by a clear majority.Commenting after the debate on the Motion, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said: ” We call on the British Government to pursue vigorously the dismantling of the 700 km-long wall which separates many Palestinians from their schools and their land, and to support the UN’s call for the lifting of the blockade of Gaza.”

“The Union will continue to call upon the UK Government to fulfil international obligations in relation to the treatment of Palestinian Child Prisoners. This was the pledge given by our recent delegation to Palestine led by our ex-President Beth Davies.”

National Union of Teachers delegates heard a report from the delegation of Executive and non-Executive members who visited Palestine in October of last year, and “the strengthening of links between the National Union of Teachers and the General Union of Palestinian Teachers”. Conference delegates all received a post-trip report.

Conference welcomes the visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territory by a 
delegation of Executive and non-Executive members in October 2013, and 
the strengthening of links between the National Union of Teachers and the 
General Union of Palestinian Teachers. 
Conference notes the ongoing oppressive and unjust regime imposed by the 
state of Israel on the Palestinian people and is especially concerned at the 
impact on young people and their families. 
Conference endorses the following demands and calls on the British 
Government to actively pursue these objectives: 
1. The dismantling of the 700 Kilometre long Wall condemned by the 
International Court of Justice in July 2004; 
2. The ending of all illegal settlements which now control 42.7% of the 
West Bank (UN figures); 
3. The ending of all moves to cut East Jerusalem off from the West Bank 
through a process of settlement expansion and the demolition of 
Palestinian homes; 
4. The support for the UN call for the end of the blockade of Gaza; 
5. The dismantling of the Israeli army’s 532 Checkpoints (UN figures); 
6. The ending of the inhuman treatment of Palestinian Child Prisoners as 
documented by Defence for Children International/Palestine Section; 
7. The rescinding of the Government’s Prawer Plan to destroy Bedouin 
villages inside Israel and forceably transfer the people out of their 
established villages; and 
8. The right of the Palestinians inside Israel to develop a curriculum 
which preserves their heritage and ends discrimination in education. 
Conference reaffirms its commitment to campaigning in solidarity with the 
Palestinians in their struggle for peace and justice and calls on the Executive 
to distribute the report of the 2013 delegation as widely as possible 
publicising it through the Teacher and all appropriate Union channels.

Conference instructs the Executive to: 
i. Support TUC policy, to “boycott the goods of, companies who profit 
from illegal settlements, the Occupation and the construction of the 
ii. Pressure the UK Government to call on the Israeli Government to 
comply with international law and human rights treaties; 
iii. Work to win the backing of Education International and the ETUC(E) 
for these policies and to seek to collaborate with like minded unions 
iv. Convey these views to the Israeli Teachers Union; 
v. Express our solidarity with the GUPT for its objectives for education 
and discuss with them ways to develop this solidarity; 
vi. Call for an end to the discrimination against Palestinian students and 
teachers within Israel; 
vii. Encourage divisions to make links with Palestinian teachers and 
schools including organising delegation exchanges; 
viii. Encourage Associations, Schools and Divisions to publicise the report 
of the delegation to members; invite speakers to their meetings and 
encourage active membership participation in work on this issue; 
ix. Organise a special meeting for Division representatives and 
International Solidarity Officers to present the report, explain Union 
policy, outlining ways to develop the work and incorporate regular 
updates in Divisional Secretaries briefings and school representatives 
training; and 
x. Continue to campaign for the rights of Palestinian children including 
child prisoners and work to engage all members in this campaign 
encouraging individual membership of and affiliation to the Palestine 
Solidarity Campaign and support for Action for Palestinian Children