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An Urgent Call from Palestinian Trade Unions: End all Complicity, Stop Arming Israel

Palestinian trade unions have released an urgent call for unions internationally to take action to stop arming Israel. Workers across the world must take up the struggle for Palestinian liberation.

Workers in Palestine

October 17, 2023
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EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / TOPSHOT - A man reacts as he watches recuers and civilians remove the rubble of a home destroyed following an Israeli attack on the town of Deir Al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, on October 15, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. Thousands of Palestinians have gathered in the south of the Gaza Strip, laying out beds on the streets after UN-run schools filled up following Israel's warning to evacuate the north of the impoverished enclave.
Photo by Mohammed Faeq/AFP

On Monday, Palestinian trade unions released an urgent call for international trade unions to take action to halt the arms trade to Israel. The call comes as the zionist state has ruthlessly bombed Gaza, killing over 3,000 since Hamas’s October 7 offensive. U.S. and European governments, meanwhile, have lined up behind the bloody assault on Palestinians. We republish the Palestinian trade unions’ statement below, and call on all workers to take up the struggle for Palestinian liberation.

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During the May 2021 Unity Intifada, a collective of Palestinian trade unions called for international solidarity from international unions, urging them to divest their pensions from companies implicated in the occupation and release statements of solidarity. The latest call—which is reprinted in full below—focuses on the weapons industry and infrastructure of the blockade and occupation.

An Urgent Call from Palestinian Trade Unions—End all Complicity, Stop Arming Israel

Israel has demanded that 1.1 million Palestinians evacuate the northern half of Gaza, whilst subjecting them to constant bombardment. This ruthless move is part of Israel’s plan, backed by unwavering support and active participation from the US and majority of European states, to carry out unprecedented and heinous massacres against 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza and to ethnically cleanse it altogether. Since Saturday Israel has indiscriminately and intensively bombarded Gaza, and cut off fuel, electricity, water, food, and medical supplies. Israel has killed more than 2,600 Palestinians—including 724 children—leveling whole neighbourhoods, wiping out entire families and injuring more than 10,000 people. Some international law experts have begun warning of Israel’s genocidal acts.

Elsewhere, Israel’s far-right government has distributed more than 10,000 rifles to extremist settlers in ‘48 Palestine and the occupied West Bank to facilitate their escalating attacks and pogroms against Palestinians. Israel’s actions, massacres, and rhetoric point to its intention to implement its long promised second Nakba, expelling as many Palestinians as possible and creating a ‘New Middle East’ in which Palestinians live in perpetual subjugation.

The response by Western states has been one of complete and total support for the State of Israel, without even a cursory nod towards international law. This has amplified Israel impunity, giving it carte blanche to carry out its genocidal war without limit. Beyond diplomatic support, Western states are supplying Israel with armament, sanctioning the operation of Israeli weapons companies within their borders.

As Israel escalates its military campaign, Palestinian trade unions call on our counterparts internationally and all people of conscience to end all forms of complicity with Israel’s crimes—most urgently halting the arms trade with Israel, as well as all funding and military research. The time for action is now—Palestinian lives hang in the balance.

This urgent, genocidal situation can only be prevented by a mass increase of global solidarity with the people of Palestine and that can restrain the Israeli war machine. We need you to take immediate action—wherever you are in the world—to prevent the arming of the Israeli state and the companies involved in the infrastructure of the blockade. We take inspiration from previous mobilisations by trade unions in Italy, South Africa and the United States, and similar international mobilisations against the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in the 1930s, the fascist dictatorship in Chile in the 1970s and elsewhere where global solidarity limited the extent of colonial brutality.

We are calling on trade unions in relevant industries:

  1. To refuse to build weapons destined for Israel.
  2. To refuse to transport weapons to Israel.
  3. To pass motions in their trade union to this effect.
  4. To take action against complicit companies involved in implementing Israel’s brutal and illegal siege, especially if they have contracts with your institution.
  5. Pressure governments to stop all military trade with Israel, and in the case of the US, funding to it.

We make this call as we see attempts to ban and silence all forms of solidarity with the Palestinian people. We ask you to speak out and take action in the face of injustice as trade unions have done historically. We make this call in the belief that the struggle for Palestinian justice and liberation is not only a regionally and globally determined struggle. It is a lever for the liberation of all dispossessed and exploited people of the world.

Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, Gaza.
General Union of Public Service and Trade Workers
General Union of Municipal Workers
General Union of Kindergarten Workers
General Union of Petrochemicals Workers
General Union of Agricultural Workers
Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees Generation
Union of Media and Print Workers
Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU)
General Union of Palestinian Teachers
General Union of Palestinian Women
General Union of Palestinian Engineers

Palestinian Accountants’ Association
Professional Associations Federation including:
Palestinian Dental Association—Jerusalem center
Palestinian Pharmacists Association—Jerusalem Center
Medical Association—Jerusalem Center
Engineers Association—Jerusalem Center
Agricultural Engineers Association—Jerusalem Center
Veterinarians Syndicate—Jerusalem Branch.
Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate
Palestinian Bar Association
Palestinian Nursing and Midwifery Association
Union of Kindergartens Workers
Palestinian Postal Services Workers Union
Federation of Unions of Palestinian Universities Professors & Employees

The General Federation of Independent Trade Unions, Palestine
The Palestine New Federation of Trade Unions
Palestinian General Union of Writers
Palestinian Contractors Union
Federation of Health Professionals Syndicates
Palestinian Union of Psychologists and Social Workers

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