Solidarity with Palestine

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2015 National Delegate Conference
2 February 2015
Carried as Amended

Conference hopes that a lasting ceasefire between the Israeli Government and Palestinian Organisations can be established, but recognises that this will not happen or be sufficient unless the illegal siege and occupation are ended.

UNISON welcomes Palestinian attempts to establish a unity government and urges the UK Government and the EU to support and encourage this development.

Conference expresses alarm at the United Nations (UN) assessment that since the 7July 2014, and the latest, ceasefire nearly 2,500 Palestinian, mainly civilian, and 67 Israelis, three of whom were civilians, have been killed, and 9,986 Palestinians injured.

Conference deplore the attacks on UN facilities, including the attack on 3 August 2014 resulting in 9 deaths and 27 injuries and notes UN assessment of 12 August 2014 listing hospitals, clinics, United National Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) installations, schools and mosques that have been damaged or destroyed.

International law states that “parties to a conflict are prohibited to target civilians”. The UK Government is urged to support Palestinians in referring violations to the International Criminal Court.

Conference believes that the lack of a proper and meaningful response from the British government, EU and UN has been unacceptable and recognises that it is going to be necessary to step up the campaign for a free Palestine.

Since the ceasefire last autumn, the Israeli government has rapidly escalated its aggressive policy of settlement building in particular in East Jerusalem and the occupied territories. This action is a flagrant disregard of international law. This illegal action demands a robust response from the UN, UK and EU.

As a first step, Conference demands that the British Government and the EU immediately end all arms trade, and all military-industrial collaboration, with Israel (that has been or could be used or tested in breach of international law). This should be supported by campaigning for those companies that are involved in industries supporting Israel’s military industry to end their complicity.

Conference welcomes the 13 October 2014 vote of the British Parliament overwhelmingly in favour of recognising Palestine as a state. It further welcomes those other European countries which have similarly voted for the recognition of Palestine. However, Conference regrets that on 30 December 2014, at the UN Security Council, a resolution calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state failed to attract sufficient support including an abstention by the UK Government.

Further, Conference congratulates UNISON branches, regions and the national union for its support so far to the humanitarian appeal from Medical Aid for Palestine (MAP) and calls on all branches and regions and the national union to continue to support MAP’s humanitarian work.

Conference notes that discussions with some regions and sister unions have taken place around the establishment of the ‘Institute of Knowledge and Socialist Thought’ in Ramallah. The Institute is a training establishment founded by a group of trade union leaders, academics and political leaders in Palestine. Its purpose is to develop workers’ representatives, especially women, in developing and shaping their future in workplaces and communities. The founders of the initiative recognise the importance of working in partnership with trade unions in the UK and Europe.

Conference supports this important initiative and recognises the value of building trade union activist capacity within Palestine. Conference welcomes the generous support from some regions and branches towards the initiative and calls on other branches and regions as well as the union nationally to support the initiative by offering practical and financial support.