Occupation must end by November 2016!

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THE European Court ruled yesterday that Hamas be removed from the EU’s terrorism blacklist, a huge gain for the Palestinian people, after Hamas’ leadership of the battle for Gaza, in which the Israelis were fought to a standstill over the 51 days of their invasion. It’s a shame that they did not replace it on the list with Israel!

The 2001 listing of Hamas was based not on sound legal judgements but on ‘factual imputations derived from the press and the internet,’ the General Court of the European Union said in a statement, which constituted a decisive blow against the US, the UK government and Israel.

Senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouq said the decision was a ‘triumph’ for all supporters of the Palestinian people’s right to resistance and liberation from ‘colonialism’.

The PLO yesterday placed a draft resolution in front of the UN Security Council demanding an end to the Israeli occupation by November 2016, despite warnings from the United States supported by the UK government that it is ready to veto the measure.

The decision to face up to the challenge that the US will veto the resolution was made after a series of meetings with US Secretary of State John Kerry, when Kerry was told to his face to go ahead with the veto if that was the intention of the United States.

The text of the resolution put forward by the Arab group, calls for ‘the full withdrawal of Israel, the occupying power, from all of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem’.

This should be completed ‘as rapidly as possible and be fully completed within a specified time-frame, not to exceed November 2016’. It asks the world body to respect ‘the independence and sovereignty of the state of Palestine and the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people’.

The resolution is the culmination of a massive pro- Palestinian wave of support that has spread all over the world driven forward by massive anger and disgust at the recent 51-day Israeli blitz inflicted on Gaza.

This wave has become even bigger after the declarations by the Israeli PM Netanyahu that Israel was to be a Jewish state, meaning that Palestinians are to be foreigners in the land of their birth!

Now, a series of European parliaments, including the Swedish, Irish, French, Spanish, and British parliaments have carried resolutions supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state.

There is no doubt that the US government will veto the resolution for the ending of the occupation when it is voted on at the Security Council, and there is no doubt that it will have the support of the UK for this action. These governments will remain loyal to the state of Israel to the very end.

However, the truth of the matter is that both in the USA and the UK there is really massive support for the establishment of the Palestinian state and the ending of the occupation by November 2016.

In the event of a veto, the trade union movements of the US, UK and the EU must launch an international campaign of mass demonstrations, and strike actions against the veto-wielding governments and must impose an international trade boycott of Israeli goods and cultural activities.

They must insist that no further military aide is supplied by the US or the UK to Israel, and send large delegations to occupied Palestine to take part in any actions that the Palestinians choose to organise to win an Israeli withdrawal by November 2016.

With the British general election coming up in May 2015, the British trade unions have got a powerful role to play.

They supply most of the cash and most of the election workers for the Labour general election campaign.

The TUC and all of the British trade unions must spell out clearly that support for the ending of the Israeli occupation by November 2016 must be in Labour’s general election manifesto, as well as a promise that under a Labour government there will be no military aid to Israel considered until the occupation ends, and a state of Palestine is established on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Hundreds of millions of workers throughout the world support these demands. When the Palestinian motion to the UN Security Council is vetoed these millions must be called into action!