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TUC General Council statement on Gaza and Israel

The TUC continues to call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, and the release of all hostages unharmed. We have unequivocally condemned the attacks by Hamas on 7 October 2023, and called for respect for international law.

Thousands of Palestinians – mainly women and children, have been killed and many more are injured, because of Israeli military operations. Public infrastructure including hospitals, and education settings including schools have been targeted, and almost the entire population of the Gaza strip has been forcibly displaced. Workers, including journalists and health workers, have been killed while doing their jobs.

Aid workers have been targeted and access to humanitarian aid has been further obstructed by the ground offensive in Rafah. Famine is rife in northern Gaza and is spreading across the strip. We are already witnessing children dying from starvation. Leaders in the Israeli government and Hamas have been accused by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of alleged war crimes. The ICC, EU’s foreign policy chief and others have accused the Israeli government of using starvation as a weapon of war, which is prohibited under the Geneva Conventions and Rome statute. The Israeli government must allow UNRWA to continue providing humanitarian aid across Gaza.

Accountability and action to ensure that international law is upheld is urgently needed.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has issued binding provisional measures which include that Israel takes all measures within its power to prevent committing acts prohibited in the Genocide Convention, and that it takes immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of humanitarian relief to Gaza. In May, the ICJ also called on Israel to immediately halt its military offensive and any other action in Rafah. The UK government, along with other states, has obligations to prevent and punish the crime of genocide and crimes against humanity.

We condemn the increase in settler violence and forced displacement of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. The Israeli government’s decision to accelerate settlement expansion is in violation of international law and amounts to de facto annexation.

Regionally, the TUC shares the concerns expressed by the UN and others of the risk of a full-scale conflict in the Middle East, and we echo calls for de-escalation. We call on the UK government to take action to support genuine efforts towards peace in the Middle East and ensure that international law is upheld. The UK government must:   

  • call for an immediate ceasefire to prevent further loss of life
  • enable prompt and effective access to humanitarian aid, with funding to UNRWA resumed
  • work to secure the safe release of all hostages unharmed
  • take action alongside the international community to ensure that international law is upheld and applied consistently – this includes ending the occupation of Palestinian territory
  • insist that Israel complies, in full, with the binding provisional measures issued by the ICJ, and take action to ensure that it is not complicit in any war crimes
  • stop direct arms sales to Israel, along with all collaboration between our armed forces, and encourage partner governments to do the same
  • work with unions in our defence sector to protect our wider defence alliances / partnerships alongside current and future UK work content, supporting jobs and communities that will be impacted by any such action
  • recognise the State of Palestine
  • Ensure that decent work and quality public services are prioritised in the rebuilding of Gaza
  • halt trade talks with Israel
  • ban the UK’s trade in settlement goods.
  • protect the right to peaceful protest in solidarity with the Palestinian people

The TUC supports genuine efforts towards a just, lasting and comprehensive peace that is consistent with international law, and is based on a two-state solution, which promotes equality, democracy and respect for human and labour rights. We condemn physical attacks, intimidation and threats to UK workers whose activities here are wrongly linked to events in Gaza. We stand with the millions peacefully protesting, including in Israel, for a ceasefire and for democracy and human rights everywhere.

 

Original article link: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-general-council-statement-gaza-and-israel-29-05-24

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