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Union demands end to Palestinian slaughter

UNISON urges Israeli boycott

Morning Star
24 April 2002

BRITAIN’S biggest union UNISON called for a boycott of Israeli goods yesterday in protest at the slaughter in Palestine.


A meeting of the publicsector union’s national executive council said that the boycott should continue until the Sharon government agreed to comply with UN resolutions and return to the negotiating table.

The executive council condemned the Israeli government for its continuing policy of “state terrorism” in violation of international law.

A hard-hitting executive statement warned that Israel’s continuing offensive against Palestinian targets would not stop the spate of suicide bombings against Israeli forces and civilians.

“We condemn unreservedly the killing of innocent civilians by suicide bombers and believe that there can be no justification whatsoever for such acts,” said the statement.

But it added that the suicide bombings were “fuelled by the deep frustration and despair of the Palestinian people living under Israeli occupation and by the indiscriminate use of brute military force against innocent civilians.”

UNISON also called for an immediate halt to British arms sales to Israel.

Union officials will be approaching other trade unions representing workers involved in the production and transport of arms and equipment for the Israeli armed forces, urging them to refuse to produce and transport these items to Israel.

UNISON urged a negotiated political solution in accordance with UN resolutions, with Israel living in peace within pre- 1967 borders and the creation of a viable Palestinian state.

The union is to donate cash to the United Nations emergency appeal fund for the West Bank and Gaza.

In addition, the executive reaffirmed its opposition to escalating the military action against Iraq.

Senior Palestinian representative in London Afif Safieh said yesterday that the Palestinian community in Britain was “deeply moved” by the UNISON national executive resolution.

“It reflects the maturing of awareness within British public opinion.

“We would hope that British government policy in the future would reflect the depth of feeling, sympathy, solidarity and support from the British public for Palestinian aspirations.”

UNISON joins a growing list of British trade union organisations protesting against Israel’s murderous and repressive policies.

The Scottish TUC congress last week called for a temporary boycott of Israeli goods unless Tel Aviv pulls its forces out of the occupied Palestinian territories.

Teaching unions NUT and NATFHE recently called for Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories and for implementation of UN resolutions.

A major demonstration will be held in London on May 18 for justice for the Palestinian people and an immediate end to Israel’s occupation.

South African Water and Forestry Minister Ronnie Kasrils also called for a boycott of Israeli goods yesterday in protest at Israeli repression.

Joining a protest demonstration in Cape Town, Mr Kasrils said: “I am Jewish born. Since Israel purports to speak and act in the name of Jews everywhere, we are saying: ‘No, not in my name’.”