Palestine and IsraelUNISON has clear policy on Palestine and the Middle East peace process as set out in several National Delegate Conference (NDC) motions over the past few years. UNISON supports both a viable, independent and contiguous Palestinian state and the right of a secure Israel to exist. However, UNISON believes that this can only happen if Israel withdraws from the Occupied Territories to its 1967 borders. The Palestinian people are suffering greatly from the occupation. UNISON has, therefore, a long history of solidarity with and support for the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), including capacity building projects supported by the Unison International Development Fund - UIDF.
Relations with the Israeli labour movement
At its national delegate conference in 2010, UNISON decided to suspend normal bilateral relations with the two public service federations of the Histadrut, the Israeli trade union centre. This decision was taken in the light of the Histadrutís support for the Israeli military attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. However, the decision was also taken given the Histadrutís support for the military assault on Gaza, its failure to actively campaign for an end to the illegal occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem or against the Separation Wall. This decision was reaffirmed by the 2011 conference.
In reality this means that UNISON will not invite either union to its conference or other events, will not accept invitations from either union and nor will it undertake any joint project work with either organization. We will not issue solidarity messages to either union when they undertake strike action and nor will we meet with delegations coming to the UK.
However, both UCAPSE and the Government Employees' Union are members of Public Services International (PSI) and UCAPSE is also a member of the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU). It is inevitable, therefore, that UNISON representatives will attend meetings of PSI and EPSU at which Histadrut representatives are also present. It is also very likely that UNISON will be invited to attend conferences and meetings of sister unions where the Histadrut will also have been invited. As one of the largest and most influential affiliates to PSI and EPSU UNISON will still continue to attend such meetings despite the presence of the Histadrut. However, where it may be appropriate and where it would advance the cause of the Palestinian trade union movement and people, UNISON may chose to raise the issue of Palestine and the illegal Israeli Occupation in these meetings and challenge the Histadrut representatives to make their positions clear.
UNISON has also begun to co-operate with and support other Israeli trade unions and labour movement NGOs that do oppose the Occupation. The UIDF is currently supporting Kav la'Oved, an NGO, to provide legal advice and representation to migrant workers in the Israeli social care sector. The UIDF is also helping fund a legal department for the Workers Advice Centre (WAC/Ma'an), an NGO that has now become a trade union that organizes Israeli Jewish, Palestinian and migrant workers. This is in line with previous conference decisions and UNISON should continue to work with Kav la'Oved and the Workers Advice Centre as well as other Israeli organizations who take a clear stance against the Occupation.
Motions passed at National Delegate ConferencePalestine 2009
Palestine and Israel 2006