Headteacher apologises for considering picking charity that helps Israelis as well as Palestinians

Parents at the school expressed fury when they heard donations could go to the Red Cross, which also supports Israeli emergency services


A headteacher in Manchester has apologised for considering donating a school fund to the Red Cross, which help Israelis affected by the Middle East violence as well as Palestinians. 

Following May’s spate of violence in Israel and Gaza, pupils at Stretford High School in Trafford raised £278.42 for charities aiding Palestinians.

However, headteacher Nicola Doward sparked an uproar when parents and students discovered the funds were planned to go to the Red Cross, which aids both Israelis and Palestinians affected by violence. 

In a statement posted on the high school’s Facebook page, Ms Doward said: “I would like to put on record that I unreservedly apologise for a decision I made to consider sending the proceeds of the funds raised to the Red Cross. 

“I made this judgment call as at the time I believed there would be no bias in doing so. Subsequently, I understand that this decision has caused offence to some members of the wider community.”

The Red Cross’s Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel Crisis Appeal provides medical and humanitarian aid and supports the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Palestine Red Crescent and Magen David Adom, Israel’s medical emergency service.

Parents at the school were “indignant” when they heard donations could reach people and charitable organisations based in the Jewish state. 

Commenting on Ms Doward’s Facebook apology post, one man said: “Thank god the money is not going to the terrorist IDF, you have made the right choice and acknowledged your mistake and everyone will respect you more for standing up to the truth and realising your mistake.

“Imagine funding terrorists who kill babies, children and elderly innocent people. The IDF exactly do that.”

Another commenter, Tom Price, said: “The money was raised for Palestine so send it to Palestine.

“A nuclear superpower that subjugates and murders an indigenous people and gets away with breaking international law on a daily basis has no need for the money. Well done for doing the right thing.”

In her Facebook post, Ms Howard said she has listened to and understands the school community’s concerns, and thanked “leaders of our local Mosques, our governors and the wider community who offered support and counsel”.

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