GFTU Statement on Palestine

The General Federation of Trade Unions stands in solidarity with working people in Palestine and Israel and calls for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the siege of Gaza. We condemn the killing of Israeli civilians by Hamas and the killing of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces and extend our sympathies to all those who have lost family and friends. In particular, the impact of this conflict on children and young people has been devastating and will take a long time to heal.

The current escalation in violence takes place in the context of the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory by Israel and a systematic oppression of the Palestinian people, described by international human rights organisations as a system of “apartheid”. Since 1967, Palestinians have lived under brutal occupation and their legitimate demand for an independent state has been denied.

The current assault on Gaza has included the bombing of hospitals, the targeting and destruction of 88 schools and the denial of food, medicine and fuel to the people of Gaza. Collective punishment is a war crime under international law and our government must demand the immediate cessation of all military action and the opening of a humanitarian corridor to allow vital material aid into Gaza.

We call on all those committed to peace to join the marches and demonstrations in solidarity with Palestine and to pressure our government to act.

GFTU is deeply concerned by the rise in antisemitism and anti-Muslim racism which has accompanied the escalation of the conflict. The trade union movement must work to build unity between working people and oppose those who would divide us. We stand in solidarity with all those who have been subjected to racism and discrimination and against those, particularly in politics and the media, who have encouraged division.

GFTU expresses solidarity with all who fight for justice, equality and peace in Palestine and Israel.

We stand in solidarity with Palestinian trade unions in their call for the trade union movement worldwide to refuse to build or transport weapons to Israel, to take action against companies complicit in the siege of Gaza and to pressure their governments to cease military trade with Israel.

Ultimately, there will be no solution to the crisis until there is an end to the military occupation of Palestinian territory and the blockade of Gaza, and a respect for Palestinian rights, including the right to self-determination and the right to return.

We echo the voice of the democratic forces in Israel and Palestine when they say that there is no military solution to this crisis, only a political one – the end of the occupation and Palestinian independence.

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