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2004 National Lesbian & Gay Conference
30 July 2004

Conference notes that UNISON and its former partner unions have called for many years for peace with justice for the Palestinian people and for a solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict based upon international law including particularly:

1.Israeli withdrawal to the borders of 4 June 1967;

2.The right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, and;

3.The Palestinians’ right to national self-determination and to establish an independent state with its capital in non-occupied Palestinian Jerusalem.

Conference further notes that:

A.Following allegations to the contrary, on 2 June 1997 the Secretary General of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Cabinet, issued a statement that, “Neither the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) not the PNA discriminate against the gays and lesbians. Furthermore, no person has been killed by the PLO or the PNA because of their sexual preferences.”;

B.On 15 May 2004 Outrage! Demonstrated at a rally called by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) with placards reading “Israel, stop oppressing Palestinians; Palestine, stop oppressing queers.” In a letter published later in the Morning Star a member of Outrage! renewed the allegation in (A) above citing several Israeli human rights organisations as sources. The letter claimed the PLO refused to discuss the matter and criticised PSC for failing to take up Outrage’s concerns;

C.In its members’ newsletter of June 2004, lesbian and gay members of PSC called on others to join them to raise awareness of the Palestinian cause in the lesbian and gay community in Britain.

Conference considers that:

i.The only political framework capable of guaranteeing the human rights of lesbian and gay Palestinians – or of any other Palestinians – will be an independent Palestinian state;

ii.While human rights concerns can, and should, be raised with the PLO and the PNA their capacity, under occupation, to act on them is bound to be limited, and therefore;

iii.While UNISON should address the human rights concerns of lesbian and gay Palestinians this must always be clearly in the context of UNISON’S policies on the Palestine question as a whole.

Conference therefore instructs the National Lesbian and Gay Committee to:

a.Publicise the work of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and encourage lesbian and gay members of UNISON to join PSC;

b.Encourage investigation of Outrage!’ claims and, if appropriate, work with the UNISON International Department to offer UNSION’S good offices to raise any concerns with the Palestinian General Delegate to the United Kingdom;

c.Raise these concerns, as and when appropriate, with the Trade Union Congress Lesbian and Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Committee and with the International Lesbian and Gay Association, and;

d.Invite a Palestinian representative to address our next conference.