The horrifying nature of attacks and the humanitarian crisis unfolding across Israel and Gaza is being felt globally, and also here within our LSHTM community. We understand that many are feeling the impacts of this intensely, and extend our deepest sympathies to everyone grieving and affected. We have heard perspectives, fears, and concerns from students, staff, alumni and others who are experiencing distress and pain at the impact and sense of loss in their communities.
As a leading public and global health university, we have a role in looking at how this grave situation is impacting health and healthcare needs, and providing our expertise wherever needed. As an institution with humanitarian values we are committed to the preservation of human life and hope for a swift end to hostilities to prevent further loss of life and harm to people and communities.
We encourage our community to take every opportunity to advance your own learning of the events that are happening and what it means for those in Israel and Gaza, the Middle East and globally.
As an institution committed to fostering a culture of inclusivity and thoughtful, reflective discourse, we understand that this conflict and surrounding history may evoke a range of challenging emotions, and recognise that there are many divergent views.
While we embrace differences as a global institution with diverse networks and partnerships around the world, we ask that all members of our community approach discussions in appropriate settings with empathy and sensitivity. Neither harassment nor intimidation based on religious or cultural beliefs is acceptable and LSHTM has rigorous processes for handling any such incidents.
It is our collective responsibility to ensure that LSHTM and the spaces we work in, communicate in (including online) and operate are safe and respectful environments for all those engaged in our community. We must act with integrity and work together in unity to deepen our understanding, respect, and care for each other.
Professor Liam Smeeth, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: "I strongly condemn the Hamas attacks on civilian populations and the taking of civilian hostages, and I urge their immediate release. I believe the blockade of Gaza’s civilian population is inhumane and needs to be lifted immediately. The relentless attacks on Gaza, with civilian casualties and mounting death and destruction, must end. I urge the whole world to do everything possible to help end the massive human suffering and large numbers of deaths, and I call for an immediate ceasefire from all sides.
"It is important to acknowledge that, as an institution with colonial origins, the current situation in the Palestine/Israel region has its roots in British colonial rule. We should all reflect on the long shadow that the actions of the British Empire and its institutions cast on current events throughout the Middle East.
"My deepest wish is that all parties involved could work together for a lasting peace in the region with respectful and equitable co-existence of Israeli and Palestinian populations."
If you or your immediate family members are affected in any way, our School’s Employee Assistance Programme is available to all staff, offering free, confidential, 24/7 support, including counselling sessions and a range of support and self-help resources. For students, LSHTM’s Student Support Services team are available and can offer one-to-one appointments via telephone, Zoom and other online resources.
Anyone in our community experiencing or witnessing harassment or intimidation can reach out anonymously or named via Report and Support.
Additional support on reporting antisemitism: The Community Security Trust (CST) has published a number of resources on their social media feeds, including guidance on how to communicate about Israel in a non-antisemitic way. CST also has a national emergency number which can be used to report antisemitic attacks, alongside contacting the police.
Additional support on reporting Islamophobia: Tell Mama is a confidential support service for those suffering from anti-Muslim hate and discrimination across the UK. Their website features a number of different ways to report anti-Muslim incidents, including via phone or WhatsApp.