Message from Palestinian trade unions on Gaza

From the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) via Socialist WebZine, Jan. 11:

Sisters and brothers:

The PGFTU has been working at all levels in Palestine and in its international relations to mobilise international support for peace in the region. This is the ultimate goal for our working families in Palestine, who laboured in every way possible to bring about an end to the Israeli occupation of all Palestinian territories. This occupation is the longest and worst in the modern history.

Over the years and even at this moment, these efforts have been met only with terrorism against our people by the Israeli army of occupation, which has indiscriminately destroyed homes and worksites, slaughtered our people, confiscated our land, established and expanded illegal settlements, and limited the movement of workers who are only trying to feed their families. These measures have affected every member of the Palestinian society.

The recent construction of the Apartheid Wall stands as a symbol of the extent of Israel’s brutal aggression against the Palestinian people and denial of their legitimate rights, dignity and human needs.

We call upon all peace-loving people in the world:

You are now witness to the criminal aggression by the Israeli army in its offensive in the Gaza Strip, bringing a new wave of killings and massacres against the Palestinian people by Israel as the occupying state. These are war crimes according to international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions.

As our families in Gaza (the poorest in the Middle East) are being slaughtered nonstop for a week now, many of us are reliving what occurred in the summer of 2006 during the Israeli aggression against the people of Lebanon.

We witnessed then as we experience now waves of support and solidarity and similar anger and energy against this brutal injustice. We cannot afford to let this surge of support pass us by without utilising the moment to build our movement to face future challenges. The most important thing is to be aware and equipped.

We urgently ask you and your sister labour organisations to help us spread the message that “WE ARE ALL GAZA” – that this war is against all poor workers and families of the world. These are not just crimes against the people of Palestine. They are crimes against humanity.

Help us create a strong voice for the working families of Gaza by building coalitions with unions, faith groups, anti-war movements and all social justice organisations.

We join you in the hope that in the election of Barack Obama, he will fulfill his reputation as a pro-union anti-war candidate, and that he understands that the CHANGE he spoke about during the campaign must include a fundamental change in US foreign policy so that “FREE GAZA…FREE PALESTINE” becomes more than just a slogan.

We support and encourage your Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) efforts against Israel around the world, but especially in Europe and most particularly in the United States as a response to the harsh economic conditions, violations of labour and human rights, and other forms of oppression imposed by the illegal and immoral Israeli Apartheid occupation.

We ask you to stop US aid to Israel. This becomes not only necessary but also a duty of international solidarity among labour unions around the world. It is US government aid that provides Israel with the weapons of oppression and U.S. government support that enables them to use those weapons against our people.

We ask you to be an active player in raising funds to meet the bare necessities of food, medicine and medical supplies for the people of Gaza.

With your solidarity with our struggle for human rights and justice, we can transform this moment of crisis into a turning point for an end to the brutal occupation and a step toward the liberation of the people of Palestine.

With the will and determination of all the people, we can say “FREE PALESTINE…YES WE CAN.”

See our last posts on Gaza and Obama.

  1. Iraqi workers march against Gaza aggression
    On Jan. 15 in the city of Basra, a protest was held against Israel’s Gaza aggression under the leadership of Trade Union Action Coordination Bureau in the south, which includes the Federation of Oil Workers, the General Federation of Worker Councils and Unions in Iraq and a number of other unions. The Federation of University Professors and Iraq Freedom Congress also participated

    Marching on the provincial government building, the protesters chanted slogans and held banners condemning the US policy and its unlimited support for Israel, and praising the positions of Venezuela and Bolivia on the issue. Speakers included Hassan Juma, president of Trade Union Action Coordination Bureau, who declared Iraqi workers’ unlimited solidarity with the workers of Palestine, and Abdullah Abdul Hamid, who delivered a statement from the oil workers condemning the Arab governments for failing to stand against the Israeli aggression.

    Hirman Kadhim, secretary of the Basra chapter of the IFC, was the third speaker. Her remarks follow

    Brothers and sisters,

    On behalf of Iraq Freedom Congress, which is struggling against the occupation and its policies on various aspects I would like to welcome you warmly and assure that when we raise our voice to denounce and condemn the Israeli occupation and its crimes of killing innocent women, children, elderly and the destruction of infrastructure in Gaza, we also condemn the US neo-conservatives administration, particularly the criminal Bush, because they provided political ground for this savage and barbaric aggression by providing military, financial and moral support… We condemn the silence of the Arab regimes that confirmed their weaknesses and proved once again their tied affiliation with US foreign policy in the Middle East. We also strongly condemn the Arab regimes that made it illegal for their citizens to demonstrate and express their opinion in rejecting Israeli aggression and supporting the people of Gaza.

    Iraq Freedom Congress declares its position in calling for a boycott of Israeli government at all levels and provides all necessary assistance to the people of Gaza, particularly the innocent victims. Long live Gaza…. Down with the US and Israeli occupation!

    Via Infoshop News, Jan. 29

    See our last post in Iraq’s civil resistance.