UK and US trade unions must take general strike action to smash Israel’s genocide plans and establish the State of Palestine!

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PALESTINIAN trade unions have issued a call on US labour to take concrete action against Israel’s genocidal attempt to smash the Palestinian people.

In a statement, the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions called on US trade unionists to intensify their actions to put an end to the US-backed genocide in Gaza.

Palestinian trade unions issued the call last weekend to unions and labour organisations in the United States to intensify their efforts to put an end to Israel’s genocide in Gaza. This urgent appeal comes nearly six months into Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza. The death toll in the enclave has now crossed 32,000, and over 74,000 have been injured. Starvation and disease stalk the majority of the population, especially the 1.7 million Gazans who have been forcibly displaced.

The statement to the US labour movement highlighted that despite their efforts to raise awareness to the genocide in international forums, they ‘have encountered shocking silence and neglect by the international labour movement’.

The PGFTU noted that: ‘Instead of celebrating with you on May 1st, International Workers Day, we are busy shrouding dozens of people who are being killed around the clock in the middle of a genocidal war against our people — in every sense of that word.’

The trade union federation itself has also faced direct attacks from Israel and its ‘US-made weapons’. On March 7, 2024, Israeli occupation forces bombed the headquarters of the PGFTU in Gaza City. The federation’s five-story building had attached to it several other facilities providing services to the Palestinian people, including a kindergarten that served 380 children, as well as a large automatic bakery.

In the latest statement, signed by Basheer Al-Sisi, a member of the General Secretariat of PGFTU, they announced that the federation has ‘lost thousands of members, union offices, facilities, and other institutions’ as a result of the ‘wholesale slaughter and forced dislocation — ethnic cleansing’ committed against the Palestinian people in the last six months.

Throughout this period, the administration of US President Joe Biden has remained Israel’s most loyal ally and partner.

As such, the PGFTU emphasises in the statement that it is time for the US labour movement to leverage all of its strength to end US complicity in Israel’s genocide.

Labour is urged to go beyond verbal measures to support Palestine. The statement calls for unions in the belly of the beast to not only expose the ‘extent of the war crimes and genocide committed against our people,’ and the complicity of the US in these crimes, but also to protest and exert pressure to stop the exportation of US-made weapons to Israel and to force the Biden administration to stop supporting Israel.

The statement also highlights the need for the labour movement to raise awareness to the mass violation of Palestinian workers’ rights by Israel amid the war of extermination, as thousands of Palestinian workers in Gaza have had their contracts suspended and terminated. This has deprived Gazans of ‘their rights and compensation’, and exacerbated the economic insecurity facing the majority of Gazans amid this onslaught.

The PGFTU highlights that it is time for US unions and the international labour movement as a whole to go beyond verbal measures, like statements, and take measures on the ground to ‘pressure decision-makers to stop this war of extermination’.

Another concrete measure proposed by the federation is for trade unionists to support humanitarian aid and relief efforts to assist the ‘hundreds of thousands of workers’ families whose homes and workplaces have been destroyed, leaving them to shelter in tents without any work or income.’

The besieged union federation calls on US unions to be its ‘voice and advocate inside and outside America,’ emphasising that what the people in Gaza are facing is ‘the most horrific catastrophe known to humanity in recent decades’.

On December 14, UAW President Shawn Fain joined the leadership of the Postal Workers Union, and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) and several members of Congress in a press conference in Washington DC to call upon the labour movement to take action for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Meanwhile, the British TUC is shaming itself with its silence. Today’s mass demonstration is the perfect opportunity for the TUC to break its shameful silence and announce that it is calling a general strike to bring down the Tories and to bring in a workers government that will arm the Palestinian masses to create the conditions for establishing the state of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital. There is not a moment to lose!