AUT Congress motions on the Middle East 2002

 Motion 72 from Aberdeen:  Council sends greetings to our colleagues at Bethlehem University who have appealed for our support. Council joins with them in condemning the potentially murderous attack by Israeli force on the University of Bethlehem on 8 March.Council instructs executive to pursue this policy with MP’s and through all the channels available to it including the British Government. It further instructs executive to facilitate in every possible manner initiatives colleagues may take to make contact with colleagues in Palestine to assist them in their struggle to sustain higher education and academic freedom. 


 Omitted text from motion 72 from Aberdeen removed from original motion as being outside council business:  We associate ourselves with their condemnation of the violent and lethal aggression of the Sharon regime. We believe there can be no effective restraint on the retaliations of Palestinians without the ‘international community’ imposing effective sanctions against the Israeli government and demanding that it ceases military action forthwith and takes the path of serious negotiations. Motion 73 from Newcastle:  Council is particularly concerned about the attacks on the rights, liberties and physical safety of students and staff at Bir Zeit University.  Council agrees that AUT should affiliate to Friends of Bir Zeit University. 


 Omitted text from Motion 73, Newcastle removed from original motion as being outside council business:  Council calls on the British Government to end all trade links with, and financial and military support for, the state of Israel until such time as the Israeli government complies with all UN resolutions and all articles of the UN Charter of Human Rights, including withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories and ceasing the slaughter and terrorising of Palestinian civilians. L5 Executive Committee of Union: Council is aware that the incursion of Israeli forces into the Palestinian areas of jurisdiction has directly affected universities, colleges and other educational institutions, together with their staff and students, as well as trade unionists, all of whom have been among those killed and injured. Council is also aware that the conflict is impacting more widely on the academic community in the Middle East as well as other parts of the world, where the ability to speak with academic freedom can become constrained by political and economic interests related to this conflict.Council believes that education has a central role to play in achieving a sustainable, long-term resolution to the conflict but that it can only flourish in conditions of peace and therefore Council supports the international call for a withdrawal from armed conflict of all those involved in order to seek a peaceful resolution based on UN resolutions that have been strongly supported by the international trade union and academic communities.  It further agrees to work through ETU CE and El to lend support and encouragement to all colleagues in the region who are also urging their governments to cease armed conflict and return to negotiations. In particular, Council instructs executive to seek every opportunity to offer support to colleagues in Palestine who have struggled for many years to establish and maintain a free and democratic system of higher education in the face of overwhelming difficulties. Council supports the call made recently by academics in the UK and elsewhere for a moratorium on EU and European Science Foundation funding of Israeli cultural and research institutions until Israel abides by UN resolutions and opens serious peace negotiations with the Palestinians. 


 The last paragraph originally read and was amended at conference: Council also instructs the Executive committee to maintain a close watching brief on the situation and in consultation with El, ETUC colleagues in the Middle East to give consideration to the severing of academic links with institutions in Israel if their armed forces continue to occupy university premises or otherwise disrupt access of students and staff to their teaching and research and to the exercise of their academic freedom. EI is Education International, which is the International Body for Education Trade Unions.