Motion passed by National Union of Students Executive

You can read the AWL’s commentary here.

Conference believes:

1. Israel’s continuing oppression of the Palestinians has been compared by South African trade unions and activists including Desmond Tutu to the Apartheid regime.

2. Israel does not allow Palestinian refugees or their descendents to return to the territory from which they were expelled in 1948. The population of the Gaza strip is subject to a blockade described by the Director of UNRWA Operations as a “Medieval siege”.

3. Palestinian organisations have called for a policy of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. The TUC supports a boycott of goods produced and companies operating in Israel’s illegal settlements.

4. Israel’s attack on Gaza, launched in December 2008 killed over 1,400 Palestinians – more than 300 were children. Gaza’s general infrastructure including schools, universities, hospitals and homes suffered enormous damage.

5. Since 2007 Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza which violates international law and leaves the people of Gaza short of food, medicines and other vital supplies such as cement. The damage caused by Israel’s attack cannot be repaired.

6. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza has had a detrimental impact on students. Gaza’s electricity supply is controlled by Israel and shut-down for several hours most days, making it difficult for students to study. Moreover, the blockade means insufficient quantities of educational equipment, such as paper, desks and books, reach students.

7. The Trade Union Congress – representing 7 million people – has strongly condemned the siege on Gaza.

8. The National Union of Students has so far refused to join the growing movement in support of Palestinian human rights. For example, the NUS leadership refused to condemn Israel’s war on Gaza in 2009 and failed to condemn the killing of 9 civilian peace activists onboard the Mavi Marmara – the international aid flotilla to Gaza – in May 2010.

Conference resolves:

1. To demand freedom for Palestine, calling for an end to the siege of Gaza and occupation of the West Bank and the right to return for all refugees.

2. To encourage unions to twin with universities in Palestine and to send an NUS delegation on future convoys to the Gaza strip.

3. To strongly condemn Israel’s siege on Gaza and actively campaign for it to be lifted in accordance with international law.

4. To support the Palestinians’ right to education by building links with students at the Islamic University of Gaza and other educational institutions in Gaza.