UK trade unions must fight PM Johnson’s decision to oppose Israel going before the ICC!

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PALESTINE has called upon the international community as well as signatories to the Geneva Conventions to take on their responsibilities concerning protection of Palestinian detainees being kept in Israeli prisons and detention centres.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said in a statement that Israel must be held accountable for its persecution of Palestinian people, including its mass and arbitrary detentions.

The statement was issued on the occasion of Prisoners’ Day which is marked by the Palestinians on April 17th every year.

The ministry said Israeli courts have proven to be a tool in the hands of the Tel Aviv regime’s authorities to persecute Palestinian people on ethnic and political grounds. The statement also described the tribunals as ‘colonial military courts’ and called on the international community to work for the immediate release of Palestinian prisoners.

The silence of the international community has enabled Israeli authorities to continue the policy of arbitrary detentions and systematic violations against Palestinian prisoners, their families, and their rights, the Palestinian foreign ministry said.

Last week, the Prisoners and Ex-prisoners’ Affairs Authority said Ashraf Abu Sorour, a Palestinian prisoner with a serious health condition, had been held in solitary confinement at an Israeli jail and denied access to necessary medication.

Abu Sorour was arrested in November 2001 and taken to al-Jalameh investigation centre where he had been subjected to severe torture. He was later sentenced to life imprisonment.

In October 2015, Israeli jailers assaulted him and hit him with batons on his head, hands and feet. This led to an injury to the eyes.

More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, with dozens of them serving multiple life sentences. Over 350 detainees, including women and minors, are under Israel’s administrative detention.

Administrative detention allows authorities to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months. The duration could be extended for an infinite number of times.

It is at this point in the struggle to bring Israel before the International Criminal Court for war crimes, that the UK PM Johnson has rushed in to defend Israeli barbarism.

UK charities have just condemned the statement by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson opposing the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) investigation into Israeli crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territory. In a letter to the Conservative Friends of Israel, Johnson wrote: ‘We oppose the ICC’s investigation into war crimes in Palestine.’

The charities in their statement said: ‘We condemn the Prime Minister’s statement on the ICC’s investigation into alleged grave crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). This investigation is bringing victims, survivors and their families one step closer to justice – but political interference by states, such as the UK, risks pushing that out of reach.’

It added: ‘The UK government could be a bastion of international law and human rights – but instead it is undermining international criminal proceedings and standing in the way of justice.’

The charities concluded: ‘The UK government should respect the impartiality and independence of the court, and should support – rather than substantially undermine – international legal frameworks and judicial mechanisms.’

The charities are putting the UK trade unions to shame. They have remained silent in the face of Israel’s determination to step up its oppression of the Palestinian people by building settlements all over the West Bank.

The millions of trade union members must demand that the UK trade unions organise a boycott of Israel and give practical, financial and political support to establish the state of Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital.

Israel must not be allowed to step up the oppression of the Palestinian people and thumb its nose at the War Crimes Tribunal.

The UK trade unions must mobilise the world trade union movement to take action to stop Israel’s war crimes and to establish the State of Palestine, 73 years after the Deir Yassin massacre, through which the Palestinian people were driven out of their homeland.