This motion is to express solidarity with the millions of people directly affected in Gaza, Palestine, and Israel by the ongoing conflict. We are also expressing concerns at the attacks on academic freedom and freedom of speech in the UK. Finally, we express our sadness and devastation at the recent immense suffering and loss of life in Palestine and Israel and we unequivocally condemn the murder of civilians, no matter their religion or nationality.
This branch notes:
- The situation of the current conflict has a long and complex history in the region, and beyond.
- The attacks on 7 October by Hamas in Southern Israel.
- The launch of a bombing campaign and ground incursions on the Gaza strip by the Israeli government.
- The UN General Assembly vote in favour of a resolution calling for a ‘humanitarian truce’ on 27 October 2023.
- Voices including 250 UK lawyers, the UN General Secretary, Oxfam, MSF, Amnesty International, the Runnymede Trust, BRISMES, UK trade unionists, and 800 legal scholars worldwide are underlining that international humanitarian law and customary international law are not being upheld.
- UCU nationally, GS Jo Grady, and UK scholars have issued statements of solidarity and empathy with Palestinian and Israeli civilians, and a growing number of branches are passing resolutions expressing solidarity and concerns about attacks and threats to freedom of speech and academic freedom (e.g. SOAS, Edinburgh, Sussex, Goldsmiths, Queen Mary, UCL, Strathclyde, LSE, Brunel).
- On 11 October, the UK Secretary of State for Education sent a letter to all UK Vice Chancellors, suggesting a close monitoring of events and external speakers discussing the conflict under the ‘Prevent Duty’.
- There are Palestinian and Israeli people, and people of all faiths and none, from across the world, who are against all forms of aggression and who wish to see a just and peaceful resolution to the conflict.
This branch believes:
- That academic freedom, freedom of speech, and the right to protest within the law, must be upheld.
- That a peaceful solution should be sought and can be found following the guidelines of international law, and the UN resolutions, and in accordance with international humanitarian law.
This branch resolves:
- To support the call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
- To reaffirm the UCU’s position on the Prevent Duty.
- To support students and staff in their right to protest within the law.
- To support students and staff who are affected by challenges to academic freedom and freedom of speech.