Birmingham UNISON is shocked at the death and injury of many thousands of civilians in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel.
Birmingham UNISON have a long history of support for the Palestinian people and are affiliated to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
The Palestinian Trade Unions have made an urgent call for solidarity. They say that:
“The response by Western states has been one of complete and total support for the State of Israel, without even a cursory nod towards international law. This has amplified Israel impunity, giving it carte blanche to carry out its genocidal war without limit. Beyond diplomatic support, Western states are supplying Israel with armament, sanctioning the operation of Israeli weapons companies within their borders.
As Israel escalates its military campaign, Palestinian trade unions call on our counterparts internationally and all people of conscience to end all forms of complicity with Israel’s crimes—most urgently halting the arms trade with Israel, as well as all funding and military research. The time for action is now—Palestinian lives hang in the balance.
This urgent, genocidal situation can only be prevented by a mass increase of global solidarity with the people of Palestine and that can restrain the Israeli war machine. We need you to take immediate action—wherever you are in the world—to prevent the arming of the Israeli state and the companies involved in the infrastructure of the blockade.”
The bombing of civilian areas killing thousands of innocent people including over 1,000 children constitutes a war crime. Using collective punishment in response to Hamas attacks including cutting off all supplies of electricity, food, water and medicine to over 2 million people is specifically forbidden in international law and is resulting in a catastrophic humanitarian situation.
What is happening is not new but is the result of a long history of colonial occupation that saw the setting up of the state of Israel in 1948 in historic Palestine. Since then Palestinians have been constantly displaced, oppressed and killed and increasingly enclosed in what has been termed an open air prison, again a breach of international law.
This collective punishment of the population of Gaza has been encouraged by the British government which has made no criticism of Israeli’s actions or its long history of systematic discrimination and violence against the Palestinians.
No wonder Palestinians fear a second Nakba, or catastrophe, referring to the mass dispossession and ethnic clearing of up to a million Palestinians in 1948 with the creation of the Israeli state. The current inhabitants of Gaza are direct descendants of the dispossessed of ‘48.
The bombing of al-Ahli Baptist hospital in Gaza, leaving at least 500 dead, underlines the horror of the Israeli assault on Gaza.
The leaders of the Tories and Labour say they stand with Israel against the Hamas attacks but have been silent about the fate of Gaza. Together with the actions and statements from other Western governments this has sent a signal to Israel that it can act with impunity.
We join the call for Britain to end its military and political support for Israel’s actions.
We urge all trade union members to stand with Gaza.
We encourage every UNISON member to attend demonstrations in support of the Palestinians to show they are not alone in their struggle for justice.