THE TUC has just published a statement condemning Israel and stating that ‘The illegal occupation of Palestine means that Palestinians face violations of their human and workers’ rights on a daily basis – and too many companies are benefiting from it.’
It adds: ‘The UN has set up a database to help track these companies’ activities – but it’s falling out of date. We’re campaigning to make sure that the UN has to keep an accurate record of these companies: you can add your name to the petition to support this action here.’
This extremely mild response is lilly-livered through and through, especially when the same TUC points out that ‘The Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories have been built in violation of international law. Settlement activities involve enforced displacement of Palestinians, land confiscation, disruption to Palestinians’ livelihoods, restrictions on Palestinians’ freedom of movement and the exploitation of natural resources.
‘Every day, thousands of Palestinian workers in the settlements face exploitation, with low wages – sometimes below the legal minimum wage – unsafe conditions and denial of their fundamental rights at work, including the right to organise and bargain collectively.’
It is obvious that what is required here is a lot more than a bit of trade union monitoring. There must be a mass action against the way that the Palestinian masses are being attacked. As the TUC well knows, but turns a blind eye to, every day Israeli soldiers and settlers are evicting Palestinian families from their own homes, and if they resist, as in a number of cases, they have been injured or shot dead.
What is required from the TUC is the organisation of working class action to assist in the liberation of Palestine, to establish the Palestinian state where Arabs, Jews and Christians can live side by side.
In 2010, the TUC Congress democratically agreed to support a ban on importing goods produced in the illegal settlements in order to pressure the Israeli government, and work towards ending the occupation, dismantling the wall and removing the illegal settlements.
Note that ending the occupation is not a TUC immediate demand. Its just-issued statement, however, ignores the brutal fact that every day Israeli soldiers and settlers are evicting Palestinians from their homes, injuring and killing men, women and children, as they seek to establish a state where only Jews can expect a decent life
Yesterday, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that a Palestinian youth was shot in the belly by Israeli soldiers during confrontations in the village of Nabi Saleh, northwest of Ramallah, and later died of his wounds. Palestinain Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called the killing of Nihad Barghouti ‘organised terrorism.’
The TUC must be forced to drop this pose that the situation in Palestine can be resolved by a bit of trade union monitoring. The time has come for mass action and for the British working class to give vitally needed assistance to the revolutionary struggle to liberate Palestine. In fact the UK working class is waiting for a lead on this vital issue.
Last June, there were two huge marches of over 200,000 in each march demanding the establishment of a Palestinian state and demanding that ‘Palestine Be freed from the River to the Sea’. At the second march, the teachers’ union leader Kevin Courtney called for a general strike to help liberate Palestine.
The time has now come for the TUC to deliver it along with a boycott of all Israeli goods. There must also be a massive drive to force the British parliament to rescind that anti-Hamas motion that condemned the liberation organisation as a ‘terrorist movement’ – without a vote. It was just nodded through, with Labour stabbing the Palestinian people in the back.
We urge the TUC to start the action by calling a one-day general strike in support of Palestine, to demand that the legality if Hamas be restored and that the UK should seek the arrest of the Zionist cabinet as war criminals to stop the mass killing of Palestinians by Israeli settlers and soldiers.
Now is the time for the TUC to strike a major blow for Palestine!