[Boycott - Arms]
Belgian Trade union Federation Adopts Boycott
Paul Lootens, Secrétaire Fédéral Centrale Générale FGTB, Algemene Centrale ABVV
8 July 2010
Decent work is impossible under military occupation
On May 31st, the Israeli army attacked a convoy with 10, 000 ton of humanitarian aid on its way to the Gaza-strip. Among the unarmed campaigners, at least 10 people got killed and 30 people were wounded! The FGTB reacted with horror, regrets the deceased and wounded and demands the political responsibles of our country and the EU to express a strong condemnation, both in words and in concrete measures. The blockade of Gaza has demanded too many victims among the civil population and the action in international waters by Israël puts the peace process completely at risk.
The rights of the Palestinian people to an independent state has been trampled for more than 60 years.
The Palestinian population and specifically the workers are victim of discrimination by the state of Israël. They are exploited at work, their freedom of movement is obstructed and the labour-law is violated. The state of Israël applies a policy of Apartheid, similar to the politics that were used in South-Africa.
Furthermore, there is the situation of the population in the Gaza-strip who still suffer form the Israëli offensive of December 2008, which has led to the death of more than 1, 450 people and the massive destruction of infrastructure. More than a year after the attack, Israël still prevents the reconstruction of Gaza in any way possible.
In these circumstances, it is impossible to achieve an economical, political and social development. Building up a trade-union in an economy of survival is impossible.
Considering this situation, the Congress calls the Belgian and European political leaders and leaders of the trade-unions to defend the following elements:
- The resumption of negotiations between Israëlis and Palestinians aiming at the creation – besides the State of Israël- of a sustainable, continuous and independent Palestinian state within the borders of 1967, with East-Jerusalem as its capital in respect of the international right and the resolutions of the United Nations.
- The dismantling of the settlements in the West-Bank and East-Jerusalem.
- The dismantling of the Apartheid-wall.
- The withdrawal from the territories occupied since 1967.
- To stop the aggression by the Israëli military forces and the end of the blockade of Gaza.
- The right of return for the refugees following resolution 194 of the GA of the United Nations. The Congress requests the FGTB to urge the Israëli union to distance itself from the Israëli government’s policy. Otherwise this must lead to putting aside Histadrut from the ITUC, for not respecting the rules of union deontology, for as long as Histadrut does not distance itself from the Israeli policy.
It also requests to go on with the policy of building solidarity with the PGFTU.
The Congress requests the political responsibles to stop:
- all trade of arms with Israël. This applies to all arms manufacturers, wherever in the world.
- the import of products produced in the settlements in the occupied territories.
- promoting economic support and cooperation with Israël.
The FGTB has to commit itself during the Belgian presidency of the European Union from July 1st 2010 to December 31st 2010 to put pressure on the Belgian government to draft a European resolution that takes in account the above defined elements.
Centrale Générale FGTB, Algemene Centrale ABVV
Its encouraging how the power of the working class can blow off bureaucratic trappings that hide injustice in the name of balance, to sustain apartheid and colonial relations in Palestine. What is even more encouraging is the fact workers in the belly of the beats are rising up to demand action and no more double standards from their own leaders and their own governments. We have read with amazement how dockworkers from Sweden, Norway, Cochin (India) and US recently have shown the way. This is on top of the heroism of UCU, UNITE, UNISON, PCS, Firebrigades, etc in the UK who all have taken bold and courageous decisions to support practical steps towards solidarity with Palestine.
This should be a relief from the ITUC “balancing act to protect and cushion Israel aggression and apartheid” with all sorts of intimidation against smaller unions by the big 4 who act in the interest of their ruling classes to defend Israel. Workers from these countries have proven that these are not speaking on their behalf. They support justice and decisive action against Israel.
Just refer to the bold and courageous statement from the Congress of FGTB of Belgium. Its exactly what COSATU what was condemned for adding on the resolution, we have been vindicated and the truth has a tendency of forcing itself into the open at all times!
Bongani Masuku, International Relations Officer COSATU
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