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Teacher Creativity Center, Ramallah, 29 September 2004
To all Teachers’ Unions, Federations and Organizations around the World and to all teachers:
October 5 was inaugurated by UNESCO in 1994 as World Teachers Day (WTD) to provide an opportunity for teachers, parents and others interested in education to draw the attention of the public to the role of teachers worldwide and to the crucial importance of the role that teachers play in society.
This year, coinciding with WTD, an international conference on Education and Globalization will be held in Ramallah, Palestine, from October 4 to 6. Teachers, academics, unionists, human rights activists and others from around the world will be participating in the conference. The conference is being held as a result of a resolution approved at the Fourth World Social Forum in Mumbai in January 2004 calling on educators and human rights workers from around the world to organize the conference in an act of solidarity with Palestinian teachers.
On October 5, World Teachers’ Day, there will be mass demonstrations, processions and various other activities in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and in Israel itself, focusing on the theme of, “The Wall Must Fall”. This slogan refers to the 730 km of electrified fences and eight-meter high walls, referred to variously as, the Apartheid Wall, or the Annexation Wall, that the Israeli occupation government is completing, deep within the West Bank, at a cost of three and a half billion dollars.
When completed the wall will encircle Palestinian populations within three distinct regional ghettoes in the West Bank. It will also create five little ghettoes of West Bank communities west of the wall and five east of the wall isolating each of the ghettoes from the rest of the West Bank and from each other. The Wall will directly affect almost a quarter of a million Palestinians living in 67 villages, towns and cities. They will be effectively cut off from their lands and workplaces. School children and teachers have either been cut off from their schools already or will shortly be. Those needing medical treatment or social services have been similarly affected. In addition to the awful toll on human suffering the economic impact of the wall has been devastating. Hundreds of homes and businesses have been demolished. Thousands of acres of olive trees have been uprooted. Acres of agricultural land has been flattened, hundreds of artesian wells destroyed, road and water supply networks disrupted and electricity grids affected. Some of Palestine’s important archeological sites have been irrevocably damaged. In the end 50% of West Bank land and resources will end up in Israel’s hands.
Israel’s construction of the Apartheid Wall constitutes grave violations of human rights and international laws as confirmed by the findings of 9 July 2004 of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, and United Nations resolution A/ES-10/15 adopted on 20 July 2004 by a special session of the General Assembly. The UN resolution requires Israel to comply with the legal obligations identified in the advisory opinion of the ICJ.
The wall contributes to the spread of hate and discrimination and poses a serious threat to any solution for peace between Palestinians and Israelis. The destruction of the Israeli wall, like that of the Berlin wall, must become the focus of attention for all lovers of peace and justice. We ask you to join with the teachers and people of Palestine on October 5th in raising your voices to demand that “The Wall Must Fall” and that international laws and the decision of the ICJ be respected.
Specifically, we ask you to conduct activities in your schools, union halls, universities and public places to create opportunities for learning about the wall and to widely disseminate the information on October 5 through public displays, special meetings, demonstrations, protests or other activities in solidarity with the peace and justice seeking people in Palestine and Israel who are focusing world attention on the wall and working to bring it down.
World Teacher Day: www.wtdpalestine.4t.com, is the campaign website in which pictures, statistics, information, and this letter in different languages are found, please visit it.
For more information on the wall please visit:
Palestinian Stop the Wall Campaign: www.stopthewall.org
International Court of Justice, The Hague: http://www.icj-cij.org/icjwww/idocket/imwp/imwpframe.htm
United Nations: www.un.org
Right to Education Campaign: http://right2edu.birzeit.edu
Gush Shalom, the Israeli Peace Group:
To send your support or to get more information please contact:
Teacher Creativity Centre (TCC)
P. O. Box 1948, Ramallah, Palestine
Phone: (972) 2 295 9960
General Union of Palestinian Teachers (GUPT), Telefax: (972) 2 2409493