Palestine

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Conference
2010 National Delegate Conference
Date
15 February 2010
Decision
Carried as Amended

Conference welcomes the fact that the issue of Palestine became a key international priority for the British trade union movement during 2009 following the unprecedented and disproportionate use of force by Israel against the people of Gaza.

Conference notes the comprehensive policy on Palestine adopted by National Delegate Conference in 2009 and reiterates its support for existing UNISON policy. Conference acknowledges the leading role taken by UNISON and its predecessor unions on Palestine over more than two decades.

Conference further notes the adoption by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) of both the General Council statement on the Middle East and the resolution on Palestine, proposed by the FBU and seconded by UNISON, which marked a significant development in the TUC’s policy on Palestine.

Conference acknowledges the active role played by the Trade Union Advisory Committee of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) in this process and resolves to continue to support the PSC in its ambition to become a mass solidarity campaign in support of the Palestinian people’s right to national self-determination and to establish a state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital, alongside the state of Israel.

Conference notes that the National Executive Council is currently reviewing UNISON’s relationship with the public services federations of the Histadrut, as requested by Conference in 2009, and looks forward to receiving the results of this review.

Conference demands that the British government take a stronger line after 43 years of Israeli illegal occupation of, and settlement in, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights, and the continued blockade of Gaza. Conference condemns the government’s failure to take more vigorous action against the Israeli government following the discovery that a Mossad hit squad used forged British passports in the assassination of a Hamas leader. Conference also condemns the Egyptian government for its role in perpetuating the siege of Gaza.

Conference notes the British government’s guidance on the labelling of settlement goods issued in December 2009 but regrets that the Government did not impose a total ban as called for by UNISON and the TUC. Conference further condemns moves by the British government which would curtail attempts to bring charges for war crimes against members of the Israeli government and military who visit Britain and the failure to support the conclusions of the Goldstone Report at the United Nations.

Conference therefore resolves to continue build the campaign for justice for the Palestinians in partnership with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in Britain, the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions and those Israeli civil society organisations who oppose the Occupation and support the rights of Palestinians.

Conference instructs the National Executive Council to:

1)Continue to defend and implement existing UNISON policy as updated by 2010 Conference;

2)Continue to support the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to enable it to become a mass campaign;

3)Continue to work with and support the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions;

4)Continue to work with and support civil society organisations in Israel, especially those orientated to defend workers, who oppose the continuing occupation and support the rights of Palestinians;

5)Continue to raise the issue of the vulnerable status of Palestinian workers employed in the illegal settlements and industrial zones in the occupied Palestinian territories;

6)Continue to build support for Palestine within the wider trade union movement and in those European and global union federations to which UNISON is affiliated in particular;

7)Request both sections of the Political Fund to work to change the policies of both the British government and the European Union.