Motion: Stop the Scholasticide in Gaza. 29.05.24

Motion passed at a quorate Brunel UCU Branch meeting 29th May 2024:

As scholars, we have watched with horror as Israel has systematically and deliberately decimated the higher education infrastructure in Gaza. Israel has destroyed or damaged all 12 Universities in Gaza , impacting 88,000 students. As documented by the Palestinian Ministry of Education and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, since the beginning of the war, the Israeli army has killed 4,327 students and injured 7,819 others, while 231 academics and administrators have been killed and 756 injured during the ongoing attacks. The Israeli army has also killed 94 university professors. The number of students and educational staff killed in such a short period is unprecedented in the region’s history[1].

On 11  October 2023, Israeli airstrikes destroyed the Islamic University in Gaza City – one of the oldest institutions of higher education in the besieged Strip. On 17 January 2024, the Israeli military used a controlled explosion to destroy Al-Isra University. The destruction by the air, sea and ground offensives amounts to a scholasticide. The term captures the systemic obliteration of education through the arrest, detention or killing of teachers, students and staff, and the destruction of educational infrastructure. Scholasticide facilitates the physical and cultural erasure of the Palestinian people and is integral to rendering the Gaza Strip uninhabitable by Palestinians. Israeli colonial policy in Gaza has shifted from a focus on systematic destruction to total annihilation of education.

Denying access to education through the destruction of educational infrastructure, along with deliberate and indiscriminate killing of educators and students, are essential attributes of the collective punishment Israel is inflicting on Palestinians in Gaza, in violation of international humanitarian law. As an occupying power, Israel’s targeting of Palestinian educational institutions, staff and students violates the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 relating to the protection of civilians in times of war. International humanitarian law strictly prohibits attacks directed against civilian objects (including education facilities) and civilians (including teachers and students) and requires that states take all feasible precautions to avoid or minimize harm to both civilians and civilian objects. Attacks intentionally directed against civilians or civilian objects, including educational infrastructure, can constitute war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

As university workers, educators, researchers and students, we have a moral obligation to speak out against scholasticide. We raise our voices with Palestinian scholars and the people of Gaza and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: Stop the war, stop the occupation and apartheid! Ceasefire Now!

We express our solidarity to all antiwar protestors in the USA, the UK and everywhere, and send our unwavering support to all students and faculty that have been arrested, suspended, threatened and harrassed. We will not be silenced.

We raise our voice with students, workers, and our own Union who has called for  Ceasefire Now and expressed its support for campus Palestine protests. Reaffirming Brunel UCU solidarity to Palestinian anti-colonial struggle as well as our right to academic freedom. In response to the horrific situation we find ourselves seven months into this war, We demand that the Brunel University management: 

  • joins us in publicly condemning Israel’s attacks on Palestinian intellectual and educational life in Gaza. As an academic institution, Brunel University London has a duty to condemn scholasticide and to voice its solidarity with colleagues and students in Palestine, similar to the University’s declaration of solidarity with Ukraine and Ukrainian colleagues in February 2022;
  • takes concrete steps to establish collaboration with one or more Palestinian universities, to support the rebuilding of education;
  • provides scholarships for Palestinians from Gaza to study at Brunel University;
  • calls for an immediate andpermanent ceasefire, including compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2728 of 25 March 2024.