The NEU has issued a New Year’s message reiterating its call for an immediate and lasting ceasefire in Gaza where the relentless Israeli bombardment has killed more than 22,000 Palestinians since 7 October, over 70 per cent of whom are women and children.
The NEU is also calling for an end to the raids, demolitions, detentions without trial and attacks on civilians in the West Bank which have led to the deaths of more than 80 children, with over 500 injured by Israeli forces or settlers since 7 October.
NEU General Secretary Daniel Kebede said:
“Children should not pay the price of war. Yet in Gaza, almost 9,000 children are reported killed; a further 9,000 have been injured and thousands more are missing – presumed to be lying dead beneath the rubble. More than a million of Gaza’s children are displaced with no homes remaining for them to return to. The psychosocial impact of this horrific war will have consequences for decades to come.
“In the West Bank, 83 children have been killed since 7 October, with many more injured and others detained by Israeli forces. According to UNICEF, conflict-related violence has killed 124 Palestinian children and six Israeli children since the start of 2023. These are truly shocking statistics.”
Schooling has stopped for all children in Gaza and is severely disrupted in the West Bank. Schools have special protection under international law, yet in Gaza 342 schools have sustained damage according to the United Nations (UN), affecting the education of almost 500,000 students. About 90 per cent of school buildings are being used as shelters by Gaza’s displaced civilian population yet are still being targeted for attack by Israeli forces. Over 200 teachers and other education staff have been killed since 7 October.
In the West Bank, most schools are closed and online education has resumed for children as conflict-related violence makes the journey to school unsafe.
“Children have the right to life, to live and play without fear of violence and to attend school and learn in safety,” said Mr Kebede. “My Union calls for an immediate and lasting ceasefire and for negotiations leading to a just and enduring peace in which Palestinian and Israeli children can live, learn and play together in peace and security.”