Extract from the minutes of July 2014 National Council, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU)
6.12 Situation in Gaza
National Secretary Bastian spoke to the current situation in the Middle East and Gaza.
MOTION: National Council notes the report from National Secretary Bastian.
Council notes the significant conflict across the Middle East with violence, repression and dispossession occurring across Syria and Iraq and threatening a broader conflagration in surrounding countries. Council deplores the violence perpetrated on people solely due to their ethnic or cultural backgrounds or their religious beliefs. Council despairs at the repression of basic democratic and trade union rights and freedoms across the Region and the targeting of women, trade unionists and gay and lesbian citizens.
Council further expresses its deep concern for the current events unfolding in Palestine. As a key contributor to APHEDA, the ACTU’s Humanitarian Aid Agency, the AMWU has a specific interest in events in Gaza and notes that a number of APHEDA projects have been damaged or destroyed as a result of current events.
Council is appalled that so far over 1,200 people have been killed in the current conflict and that almost half of these were women and children.
The AMWU again joins calls for a peaceful resolution of the issues separating Israel and Palestine, based on the two state solution. We call for an immediate cessation of all military activity.
We condemn the violence on both sides and the taking up of arms to resolve differences. We condemn the loss of life, especially of unarmed civilians, including children, noting that the vast majority of those who have been killed are workers. We call upon all forces on both sides to refrain from violent acts, whether as perpetrator or by way of retaliation. We call for the immediate cessation of launching rockets by Hamas into Israel and for Israel to cease its military action and to immediately withdraw its forces from Gaza.
We call upon the parties to immediately return to negotiations for a lasting peace, under UN supervision, and endorse the United Nations Security Council’s call for a ceasefire to be implemented without delay. The Security Council has urged de-escalation of the situation, restoration of calm, reinstitution of the November 2012 ceasefire and respect for international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians. National Council supports that demand.
We share the call of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in demanding an immediate ceasefire and urgent humanitarian assistance to Gaza followed by renewed international pressure to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and to find a negotiated settlement to respect the 1967 borders between Israel and a Palestinian state.
We call upon all parties immediately involved in the conflict or as allies or supporters, to urgently take all steps to stop the loss of innocent lives.