ISRAEL faced widespread international condemnation over the killing of eight Palestinian civilians on Friday, including three children while they picnicked on a Gaza beach.
Even the United States, Israel’s staunchest ally, was shamed into voicing ‘its regret for the killing and wounding of innocent Palestinians’.
However, there was no expression of regret, or condemnation for the massacre from the British Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett.
In fact, the British government was too busy solidarising itself with Israel. The British Prime Minister Tony Blair even went ahead with his scheduled late afternoon meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, at 10 Downing Street. Olmert has been Prime Minister for a very short time, but nevertheless has been able to outdo even Sharon in the matter of killing Palestinian men, women and children.
He was sworn in in May as premier, and already he has had up to 70 men, women and children murdered by Israeli forces.
Blair was no doubt happy to meet his co-thinker. Blair is up to his neck in the blood of the Iraqi people, while Olmert is part of a regime that has carried out a holocaust against the Palestinian people since 1948. They are perfectly suited to each other.
In fact, yesterday, at the same time as Olmert was visiting Blair, Israeli planes were attacking and killing Palestinians on the Gaza Strip.
The responsibility for these attacks rests not only with Israel, but with its backers in Washington and London. From the moment that Bush and Blair refused to accept the democratic choice of the Palestinian people when they elected a Hamas government, Israel had its green light to do its worst, despite the fact that Hamas had been operating a truce, as far as attacks on Israel were concerned, since February, and was prepared to operate it until the end of the year.
Not only did the British and American ruling class refuse to recognise the democratic choice of the Palestinian people, they worked out a plan of aid cuts, calculated to starve the Palestinian people and to try to force them onto their knees.
Even the banks were told that they must not transfer funds into Palestinian accounts, so that workers could not get their wages to feed their families with. This is the terror politics of the US and British governments. They refused to accept the result of the Palestinian general election, sought to starve the Palestinian people, and then let their Israeli mad dogs off the leash to destroy young children on the Gaza beach.
Workers in Britain must demand that the trade unions take action to assist the Palestinian people and to support their struggle.
The trade unions must demand that the UK recognises the Hamas government, restores any aid that it was sending to Palestine, and stops supplying arms to Israel and all military equipment including spare parts.
The TUC must immediately impose a trade union boycott of all Israeli goods and services, and all Israeli institutions, from universities to the El Al Airline.
It must take the issue to all international trade union bodies and move for a worldwide trade union boycott of Israel, until it ends the occupation of the Palestinian territories and allows the establishment of the Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, with the right of all refugees to return accepted and implemented.
The trade unions must urge all Palestinian movements to support the democratically elected Hamas government and to form a government of national unity with it.
The trade unions cannot stand idly by and watch Palestinian children being butchered.
This is the trade union conference season.
There is an emergency situation in Palestine. Every trade union conference up to and including the TUC Congress must pass an emergency resolution calling for a trade union boycott of Israel and take action to spread it worldwide.