CBRL statement on the current situation in Palestine/Israel

CBRL and its trustees express profound sorrow in the face of the current violence in the region.  Civilians, both in Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territories, have borne the brunt of this terrible onslaught from the outset. In addition, an overwhelming loss of life, particularly among women and children, and a humanitarian catastrophe of unprecedented scale is unfolding in Gaza.

We call for the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure to be unwaveringly respected, and for all parties involved to adhere to their responsibilities under international humanitarian and human rights law.

It is crucial to recognise that the current escalation of violence in Gaza and in the West Bank has deep-seated roots, including the historical context of British rule in Palestine. This prompts the CBRL to reflect on our origins and century-old presence as an institution in East Jerusalem.

As an organisation committed to advancing public education, we specifically advocate for the safeguarding of the lives of teachers and students, as well as the protection of educational infrastructure. Tragically, numerous education staff and students in Gaza have lost their lives alongside their families, and countless others endure the profound pain of losing loved ones and friends. Our thoughts and solidarity extend to all those affected.

Furthermore, we staunchly support the rights of academics in Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territories to pursue their research and publication activities without restriction or constraint. Equally, we advocate for the protection of cultural heritage, as well as the safeguarding of the staff and infrastructure associated with museums, libraries, and archives.

In unity with voices across Palestine, Israel, the UK, and beyond, we join in the urgent calls for the opening of a path to a just resolution.

Beyond the immediate crisis, we emphasise the critical need for the reconstruction of education buildings in Gaza and Palestine, in general, and the provision of assistance to Palestinian education institutions, teachers, students, and researchers.

18 December 2023