Invitation to endorse European Trade Union Initiative for Justice in Palestine
The trade union movement, acting in the spirit of international working class solidarity, and in defence of fundamental human rights, has consistently called for a just solution for the Palestinian people. The fundamental values of trade union internationalism mandates us to take concrete and effective action towards an end to Israel’s illegal occupation, the implementation of UN resolutions, and a just and equitable settlement for all.
It is in this spirit that we launch this call for a coordinated mobilisation of the European trade union movement to take effective action to bring an end to Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights and grave violations of international law.
The question of Palestine is at a crucial moment. Israel is relentlessly advancing the colonization of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem and continues to actively expel Palestinians from their ancestral land. A brutal siege has been imposed on the 1.8 million residents of the Gaza strip since 2007 and Palestinian refugees are still denied their right to return.
Despite various peace and economic development initiatives, the persistence of Israel’s violent occupying system renders the development of the Palestinian economy practically impossible. Unemployment rate in the occupied West Bank rests at 27 percent, while a 2015 World Bank report indicated that Gaza has the highest level of unemployment rate in the world.
The oppressive system of the internationally deemed illegal wall, settlements, checkpoints and further land annexation imposed upon the Palestinian population not only denies Palestinians the ability to develop a prosperous local economy, strips them from their land and source of income, but it also forces workers into humiliating and exploitative conditions of work in order to survive.
Numerous UN resolutions and European Union recommendations have not ended Israel’s blatant violation of international law. Israel continues with its colonial expansion and brutal policy of discrimination against the Palestinian people, including the 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel.
As European trade unionists we are alarmed that despite the clear injustice inflicted on the people of Palestine, European states, the European Union (EU) and representative institutions have failed to fulfil their duty to hold Israel accountable for its grave violations of international law. Within this regime of impunity, multinational corporations reap profits by facilitating the continued oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian people.
While the EU criticizes some aspects of Israel’s policies, they continue to provide it with political, economic and military support. The EU Free Trade consistently trumps Palestinian rights, as highlighted by more than 150 European civil society organisations, showing how the TTIP will curtail possibilities for Palestine campaigning.
We are particularly interested in developing an effective campaign to end the EU-Israel Association Agreement. The Agreement grants Israel preferential access to European markets, allows Israeli ministries and weapons companies to receive EU funding and provides Israel with the political support it needs to carry out its crimes against the Palestinian people.
This comes in violation of Article 2 of the Agreement which states that: “Relations between the Parties… shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles..” The continued application of the EU-Israel Association Agreement despite Israel’s clear violation of the Article 2 clause fosters an environment of impunity and tolerance towards Israel’s crimes.
We believe that as trade unionists and conscious citizens of this world, we have duty and power to act. We believe it is time for us to collectively stand in solidarity with the Palestinian labour movement, to develop strategies for holding our governments and the EU as a representative body accountable, and put pressure on corporations to end their complicity with Israel’s violations of international law and human rights.
Initial endorsers of the initiative:
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU),
Unison N. Ireland,
Derry Trades Union Council,
The Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance,
Belfast&District Trades Union Council,
Trade Union Friends of Palestine,
Communications Workers Union,
Mandate Trade Union,
Civil Public and Services Union – CPSU,
Irish National Teachers’ Organisation – INTO: Derry City, INTO: Newry, INTO: Dungannon, INTO: Armagh, INTO: Belfast West,
Fagforbundet (Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees)
The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) – region Trondheim
The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) – region Sandefjord
The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) – region Bergen og Omland
Palestinawerkgroep-FNV (The Netherlands),
Confederacion Intersindical Galega – CIG (Galicia),
Intersindical Valenciana – Valencia
IAC – Intersindical Alternativa de Catalunya
CGT – Confédération générale du travail