Motion on Israel/Palestine

Thursday 22-09-2011 - 00:00

The following text was passed by the NUS National Executive Council at its meeting on 22 September 2011.

Dialogue on Israel- Palestine
Proposed by
Dannielle Grufferty, Joe Oliver, Aaron Kiely, Robin Parker
NEC believes
1.    Students' unions should remain safe spaces for all students, where different views can be challenged in a open, supportive and constructive environment, without anyone feeling threatened.
2.    Believes in democratic, multi-ethnic states which embrace internationalism and respect all people's fundamental human rights.
3.    All peoples have the right to self-determination, including Jews, Israelis, Palestinians, Muslims and Arabs.
4.    There is a significant power imbalance between ordinary Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories and an Israeli State, 
5.    Since 1967 the Israeli State has encouraged Israeli settlers to build settlements in the Occupied Territories, resulting in the presence of illegal Israeli settlers on occupied land.
6.    That Israel’s attack on Gaza, launched in December 2008 killed over 1,400 Palestinians – of which more than 300 were children. Gaza’s general infrastructure including schools, universities, hospitals and homes suffered enormous damage.
7.    Severe human rights violations have been committed by the government of Israel as well as by various Palestinian Authorities.
8.    The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office has described the settlements as “not only illegal under international law” but also “a major barrier to our pursuit of a lasting peace agreement in the Middle East”.
9.    Students should be encouraged to take an active role in the world around us, especially with regard to conflict zones such as Israel-Palestine.
10.    Discussions around Israel-Palestine are highly contested and have resulted at times to a deterioration of good campus relations.
11.    Dialogue, rather than debate, is the best way to solve conflict on campus and in the wider world. NUS plays a vital role in creating a safe space on campus for dialogue and discussion.
Further Believes
1.    The self-determination of one people cannot be at the expense of another. ‘Two viable states, for two peoples negotiated bilaterally is the practical way of expressing both these competing rights, which has the potential to achieve peace in the near future. 
2.    People in Israel currently enjoy self-determination those in the occupied Palestinian territories do not.
3.    Students in the UK, as part of global civil society, should be demanding that all parties involved in Israel and Palestine should urgently call for an end of the Occupation and the achievement of a democratic, just and secure peace between Israelis, Palestinians, and their neighbours.
4.    Both the Palestinian and Jewish peoples have the right to self-determination.
5.    A peaceful solution will be created through mutual respect and recognition, of what are multiple narratives.
6.    On international issues, NUS must be informed by its members' priorities; and focus on campaigns relating to access to education, such as in Palestine; whilst also acknowledging the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
NUS Resolves
1.    To support self-determination for the Palestinian and Jewish peoples through two states for two peoples as the possible peaceful solution, recognising that there are multiple narratives of national liberation within the region.
2.    Supports the right of Palestinians living in Israel (estimated to be 1.5 million citizens, approximately 20 per cent of the Israeli population) to equality alongside other Israeli citizens.
3.    To recognise the existence of the many complexities surrounding the conflict and its resolution including the status of: the city of Jerusalem, Israeli settlements, rights to land and Palestinian refugees.
4.    To provide education and resources on Israel-Palestine to ensure officers gain an understanding of the complexities of the conflict,and the impact the surrounding debate has on student communities.
5.    To show solidarity and build links with those defending the Palestinian right to access education, and humanitarian aid.
6.    To recognise that, ultimately, a peaceful solution to the conflict must be a result of dialogue amongst those living in the region and who are directly affected by the conflict.
7.    To ask British MPs to help turn the tide on decades of failed peace talks, end the occupation and move towards peace based on two states, through calling for the British Government to support moves from Palestinians to get the United Nations to recognise a Palestinian state.
8.    To support the continued building of links and partnerships between students and students’ unions in the UK, Palestine and Israel.
9.    To condemn all human rights violations, including those committed by the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authorities.
10.    Through the Society & Citizenship Zone Committee, encourage unions to host 'roundtable' dialogue events on campuses and learning environments.
11.    To strengthen existing interfaith initiatives to promote good relations between religious groups on campus.
12.    To ensure the safety of our members as a fundamental priority.
13.    To provide training, tools and support to officers on dealing with conflict on campus.
14.    To reaffirm NUS's strong opposition to Islamophobia, antisemitism and all forms of racism and discrimination.



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