Palestine – blockade of Gaza – 2012

Congress registers that the blockade of Gaza by the government of Israel is now in its 6th year. On 14 June this year, 50 international charities and United Nations Agencies called for an immediate end to the blockade. They noted that violation of international law, affecting 1.6 million people, over half of whom are children. UN Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, pointed out that more than 80 per cent of families in Gaza are dependent upon humanitarian aid. She stated, “This amounts to collective punishment of all those living in Gaza, and is a denial of basic human rights in contravention of international law.”

Congress also registers that calls for an immediate opening have been made by the diplomatic Quartet (UN, EU, Russia and the US). The UK government has also called for an end to the siege.

Congress welcomes the easing of access to Gaza promoted by the Egyptian authorities, following the ousting of the previous government by the popular uprising. In these conditions, Congress instructs the General Council to organise a delegation to Gaza, in conjunction with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, to determine how the TUC may most effectively contribute to the end of the blockade.

Congress reaffirms its support for an inclusive peace process in the region, and supports efforts to resume all-party negotiations.

Peace in the Middle East/South Asia – 2011 

Congress notes that the ‘war on terror’ is still continuing and has failed, after ten years, to bring the promised peace and stability to either the Middle East or the wider world.

Congress believes it is time Britain disengaged from this conflict and in particular urges the rapid withdrawal of British forces from Afghanistan. The occupation there has brought devastation to the country, cost the lives of thousands of civilians and hundreds of British soldiers and destabilised nuclear-armed Pakistan. The future of Afghanistan can only be determined through talks between the parties in the country itself.

Congress believes the attack against Libya has been misjudged and, while holding no brief for the Gadaffi regime, believes military action should be halted immediately and that international efforts should be focused on securing a peaceful political settlement to the conflict.

Since there can be no peace in the region without justice for the Palestinians, Congress endorses the call for the recognition of the State of Palestine and urges the British government to take all actions appropriate to help achieve this objective. Congress calls for immediate, unconditional negotiations between the Israeli government and the representatives of the Palestinian people to secure peace.

Congress deplores the anti-democratic law passed by the Knesset banning individuals and organisations in Israel from calling for the boycott of Israel.’

Congress reaffirms policy adopted in 2010, particularly the instruction to the General Council ‘to work closely with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to actively encourage affiliates, employers and pension funds to disinvest from, and boycott the goods of, companies who profit from illegal settlements, the Occupation and the construction of the Wall.

Congress calls on all unions on the basis of this policy to review their bi-lateral relations with all Israeli organisations, including Histradrut.’

Policy passed at TUC Congress – 2010

Congress condemns the Israeli blockades of the Palestinian territories, particularly the Gaza strip where there is a severe and ongoing deterioration in the living conditions of those living there. The actions of the Israeli military, under the orders of their Government, in mounting a deadly assault on activists on the Mavi Marmara and other ships seeking to take humanitarian aid to Gaza, is particularly condemned. Congress furthermore condemns the Histadrut statement of 31 May which sought to justify the Israeli action and the failure of the Histadrut to condemn settlement construction.

Congress endorses the 3 June 2010 statement of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions, criticising the Histadrut and calling for an immediate end to the military blockade on Gaza and for a full independent inquiry into the attack on the Mavi Marmara.

Congress believes that the effective annexation of massive swathes of land by Israel in defiance of international law, using walls and checkpoints and destroying Palestinian homes in the process, is a deliberate strategy to undermine the viability of the West Bank and thereby the potential for an independent Palestinian state.

Congress calls on the UK Government and the EU to take much stronger political steps to ensure Israel abides by UN resolutions.

Congress instructs the General Council to work closely with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to actively encourage affiliates, employers and pension funds to disinvest from, and boycott the goods of, companies who profit from illegal settlements, the Occupation and the construction of the Wall.

Congress instructs the General Council to bring to Congress a report on the impact of the boycott and investment withdrawal strategy, together with the outcome of the PGFTU/Histadrut discussions recently facilitated by the ITUC and TUC.

Congress agrees to join unions around the world for maximum coordination internationally for active solidarity to end the siege of Gaza and for a free Palestine.

Palestine policy – 2009

Congress condemns the Government of Israel’s January offensive in Gaza resulting in 1,450 Palestinians deaths and 5,000 injured and the massive destruction of infrastructure.

Congress further condemns the ongoing blockade that is in contravention of International Law.

Congress calls on the General Council to:

i) use its influence with the British Government to make appropriate representations to the international community to secure support for a negotiated settlement based on justice for the Palestinians

ii) build solidarity with the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions.

Congress condemns the Histadrut statement of 13 January 2009 in which it backed the attacks on Gaza and calls on the General Council to carry out a review of the TUC’s relationship with Histadrut.

Congress calls on the General Council to pressure the Government to:

a) condemn the Israeli military aggression and end the blockade on Gaza

b) end all arms trading with Israel

c) impose a ban on the importing of goods produced in the illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories

d) support moves to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

Congress further calls on the General Council to encourage affiliation to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and to develop an effective Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions campaign by working closely with the PSC to:

1) raise greater awareness on the issues

2) promote a targeted consumer-led boycott

3) encourage trade unionists to boycott Israeli goods, especially agricultural products that have been produced in the illegal settlements

4) encourage campaigns of disinvestment from companies associated with the occupation.