The War on Gaza – Statement from members of staff and students in University College Cork 

The War on Gaza – Statement from members of staff and students in University College Cork 
Please read the statement below and add your name if you wish to be listed as a signatory when this letter is published. To date it has been signed by over 300 UCC staff and over 1000 UCC students. To sign go to this link:
The War on Gaza – Statement from members of staff and students in University College Cork (
As UCC staff and students, we have watched with horror as Israel has bombarded Gaza for the past four and a half months. As least 30,000 Palestinians have been killed, including a shocking 13,000 children. We note that the International Court of Justice has held that there is a “plausible case of genocide” committed by Israel against Palestinians in Gaza. With continuous violations of humanitarian law, the very international order itself is threatened by Israel’s actions. We wish to call for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and in all occupied Palestinian territories. In doing so, we are joining many human rights and other experts around the world, for example the Secretary General of the UN, and the UN Committee of the Rights of the Child. We also wish to see the release of the remaining Israelis and foreign nationals being held in Gaza, and the release of the thousands of Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons and detention centres, including hundreds of Palestinian children.UCC responded promptly with compassion and clarity to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The university’s efforts to support students and colleagues from Ukraine is something to be proud of and illustrates our University of Sanctuary status. We call on the university to extend this solidarity and sanctuary to Palestinian students and academic colleagues.

We are calling on UCC, one of the first universities to embed SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) into our curriculum and research strategy, to show leadership and courage in this time of extreme suffering in Palestine. Martin Luther King said ‘we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends’. Let us add our voices to the growing calls for an immediate ceasefire in Palestine. We are in a privileged position living in a free democratic country and universities are one of the institutions which can offer perspectives and leadership – and we have a duty to do so.

Our stated graduate attributes aim for our students to become socially responsible and effective global citizens, who recognize and challenge inequality. By taking the step of drawing attention to the abhorrent injustice being perpetrated against the Palestinians, we are recognising the crucial role that the university has in addressing urgent global challenges and modelling graduate attributes to our students.

Of particular note in an educational context, over the last four months all 12 of Gaza’s Universities have been systematically damaged or destroyed by the Israeli Defence Forces. Israel has purposefully, and without prior notice, bombed the homes of academics, scientists, and other intellectual Palestinians. Ninety-Four university professors and at least 231 teachers have been killed. The Islamic University of Gaza was a partner university with UCC in the UniGov Project, and the President of that university, Professor Sufyan Tayeh, was killed alongside his family in an Israeli airstrike on a refugee camp. The Dean of the Palestine University’s College of Information Technology, Dr Ahmed Hamdi Abu Absa, was among a group of men, stripped, interrogated, released, and within moments of their release targeted and killed. We cannot remain silent while our Palestinian colleagues suffer. We need UCC to raise its collective voice in solidarity with them.

Recent statements made by the President of Ireland, the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, are now clearly reflecting the mood of the Irish people. We welcome the recent statement of Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of University of Galway, who called for a ceasefire, unhindered aid to Gaza and Israel’s adherence to the rulings of the ICJ. In making this statement we are adding our voices to those of colleagues in other Irish universities such as UCD and TU Dublin. As an academic institution, who has chosen the beautiful word CAIRDEAS to represent our values, we think that it is imperative that UCC take a stand to enact these values. We respectfully call on UCC, to issue a public statement calling for the following;

· An immediate ceasefire in Gaza;

· Condemnation of the mass killing, starvation and destruction being inflicted on the Palestinian people by the Israeli Government and Army;

· Recognition of the ICJ interim ruling and a call for Israel’s adherence to international and humanitarian law;

· Unhindered access of aid, to and throughout Gaza;

· Review of all academic links between UCC and Israeli academic and industrial institutions;

· Adopt a Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Policy across the university;

· The funding of and seeking funding for short-term and long-term supports, programmes, and collaborations with Palestinian universities.

We unreservedly condemn the targeting of all civilians and advocate for an immediate ceasefire and a clear path to the vindication of the national and human rights of all the inhabitants of the region.

Time is running out for those in Palestine, let us add our voice now to demonstrate our compassion and solidarity. We are already late, and soon it will be too late to be on the right side of history.