International Trade Union Confederation
IndustriALL Global Union
Canadian Labour Congress
Congress of South African Trade Unions
European Trade Union Initiative on Palestine
Building and Wood Workers’ International
Scottish Trades Union Congress
29 May 2020, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
Israel’s annexation of Palestinian lands cannot be allowed to proceed
Israel’s illegal move to annex swathes of Palestinian territory and deprive Palestinians of rights and livelihoods must be resolutely opposed by the international community.
“Israel’s government, currently led by Benjamin Netanyahu, wants to rush ahead with annexation before the US election because it fears a change of US administration would put an end to this appalling and dangerous plan. The international community must apply every pressure on Israel to stop in its tracks Netanyahu’s takeover of Palestinian lands,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.
The plan, supported by Donald Trump, has been fiercely criticised by his opponent in the election, Joe Biden, and the end of US support would be a massive blow to the strategy of Netanyahu, who has publicly stated that Palestinians “have to recognize that we are the ones dictating security rules over the entire territory”. Netanyahu is currently on trial in the Jerusalem District Court on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
The annexation would disconnect some 200,000 Palestinians from their livelihoods and vital water sources, agricultural lands would be subject to Israeli control and the annexation of illegal settlements around Jerusalem would end prospects of a Palestinian capital in the eastern part of the city.
“The proposed annexation plan is a stark violation of international law and unilaterally, de facto nullifies the prospects for genuine negotiations leading to the realisation of a two-state solution, based on United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as capital of a Palestinian state. This plan cannot be allowed to go ahead,” said Burrow.
8 July 2020, IndustriALL Global Union
Joint statement of IndustriALL Global Union and industriAll European Trade Union on Israel’s annexation of Palestinian lands
IndustriALL Global Union and industriAll European Trade Union jointly express their opposition and protest against Israel’s annexation of Palestinian lands in contradiction of the spirit and provisions of international law.
The worrying reports demonstrate that the annexation would disconnect some 200,000 Palestinians from their livelihoods and vital water sources and agricultural lands would be subject to Israeli control.
Our both organizations denounce the American Peace Plan (Deal of the Century) as it disregards internationally accepted and supported processes.
The proposed annexation plan is a stark violation of international law and unilaterally, de facto nullifies the prospects for genuine negotiations leading to the realisation of a two-state solution, based on United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as capital of a Palestinian state.
IndustriALL Global Union and industriAll European Trade Union believe that United Nations (UN) is the reference in settling and resolving international conflicts while meaningful peace can only be achieved if both the Israelis and Palestinians come back to the negotiating table.
Therefore, IndustriALL Global Union and industriAll Europe call on their affiliated trade unions to urge their governments and parliaments to put pressure on the government of Israel and the US administration, to adhere to the rules of international law and call for return to direct negotiations, as well as to demand a real investigation on the occupation’s crimes against the Palestinian people.
In addition, our both organizations, in support of the international community and the international trade unions’ statements, call upon all its affiliates and the wider labour movement to denounce the proposed illegal Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley.
IndustriALL Global Union and industriAll European Trade Union re-affirm their commitment to fight to promote respect for trade union and other human rights, freedom, peace, democracy, and social justice throughout the world.
2 June 2020, Canadian Labour Congress
Canada’s Unions call on the Canadian government to fight to stop the annexation of Palestinian lands
The Canadian Labour Congress condemns the recent unilateral move by Israel to annex parts of Palestinian territory. This move dismantles decades of work towards a just and negotiated settlement between Israel and Palestine.
Israel’s new coalition government has announced it will move forward with the process of annexing West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley as early as July.
The unilateral annexation of territory has been strictly prohibited under international law since 1945 when the Charter of the United Nations was adopted. Israel’s control of the Palestinian territories has been denounced as illegal under international law and in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and the Geneva Convention.
Under Israeli occupation, Palestinians have been forced to live under heavy restrictions that limit their access to work, health, housing and social affairs. As Israel has expanded its settlements and built a separation wall around Palestinian lands – illegal acts under international law – Palestinians have been subject to evictions and displacement, confiscation of land, settler violence and loss of access to natural resources.
This annexation will have devastating social and economic implications. It is expected that this would disconnect around 200,000 Palestinians from their communities and livelihoods. It will also advance the annexation of Jerusalem and destroy the establishment of a Palestinian capital in the city, breaking the territorial contiguity between East Jerusalem and the West Bank. This contiguity is essential for the fabric of life for Palestinians.
The government of Canada must send a strong message in opposition to the illegal and unilateral annexation of Palestinian lands and officially recognize the State of Palestine, based on the pre-1967 borders. Canada must consider a forceful response, including revisiting the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement and other bilateral agreements and the imposition of economic sanctions against Israel.
3 June 2020, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)
COSATU condemns Israel impunity and annexation of Palestinian territories
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) condemns in the strongest terms, the planned Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories which is a blatant violation of international law. The war crimes that are currently being perpetrated against the people of Palestine, as well as the Israeli government’s decision to occupy more Palestinian land is abhorrent and harms the chances for regional peace in the near future. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that he will annex parts of the West Bank, including the strategic Jordan Valley and dozens of Jewish settlements, in line with Trump’s Mideast plan from the 1st of July 2020.
COSATU holds the view that this unilateral redrawing of the Mideast map will destroy any lingering hopes for establishing a Palestinian state and reaching a two-state peace agreement. In addition to this, the double standards and failure by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute Israel for human rights abuses makes a mockery of the public international laws, and law of nations which stipulate the standards generally accepted in relations between nations.
It is disappointing to note that seventy-two years since the creation of the Israeli state in the Palestinian land; there are still no tangible improvements on resolving this illegal Palestinian occupation by Israel. The Zionist Israeli entity in cahoots with Anglo-American imperialism continues to wage war against the poor and innocent people of Palestine. This includes the deliberate bombings of ordinary people, assassinations, and murder of leaders, depriving entire populations of access to basic resources, denying them the freedom of movement, detention without trial and torture of thousands of Palestinians.
COSATU unequivocally advocates for a free Palestine and calls upon all progressive forces to act and fight against forces who continue to add fuel to Israeli-Palestine tensions. We have an opportunity to not just offer solidarity in words, but to commit to political action, grassroots action, local action, and international action that will give us what justice requires – and that is a free Palestine.
30 June 2020, European Trade Union Initiative on Palestine
European Trade Unions Condemn the Israeli Government’s Annexation Plan
The Israeli government’s plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank are a devastating blow to Palestinian rights and the prospects of a two state solution, with a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel. The proposals, based on US President Trump’s so called ‘Deal of the Century’, will result in huge swathes of Palestinian land, currently under military occupation, including the Jordan Valley and the illegal settlements, unilaterally declared part of Israel, in violation of decades of UN resolutions and international law.
For over half a century the Palestinian population of the West Bank have endured a vicious system of military law, which has undermined their rights, including freedom of movement, decent work, health, education, water and other public services.
The international community must respond immediately to the call of Palestinian civil society and human rights organisations including trade unions for ‘effective measures’ by nation states to prevent annexation.
As a movement of European trade unions, committed to human and workers’ rights and international law, we urge the European Union and European governments to:
- Suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement, until the Israeli government complies with its clauses on human rights and withdraws its annexation plan;
- Suspend the arms trade with Israel;
- Impose a ban on trade with the illegal Israeli settlements and complicit companies;
- Exclude Israel from European Research Programs.
Additionally we call on the trade union movement to comply with the call of Palestinian trade unions, and Palestinian civil society, to ‘do no harm’, and therefore in terms of their own procurement and investments policies to ban companies profiting from or in any way complicit with illegal Israeli settlements.
European Trade Union Network for Justice in Palestine Steering Committee:
- UNISON (The Public Service Union) – UK,
- Fagforbundet (Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees) – Norway,
- Union syndicale Solidaires – France,
- La Centrale Générale-FGTB – Belgium,
- CNE – Belgium,
- ACOD Culture – Belgium,
- FORSA (Public Service Union) Ireland,
- Unite the Union – Ireland,
- Trade Union Friends of Palestine – Ireland,
- ELA – Basque Workers Solidarity – Basque Country,
- LAB – Basque Country,
- Confederacion Intersindical Galega – Galicia,
- Intersindical Valenciana – Valencia,
- Intersindical Alternativa de Catalunya – Catalunya,
- Palestinawerkgroep-FNV – the Netherlands
BWI denounces Israel’s annexation plan
The Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) reiterates its opposition to actions that contradict the spirit and provisions of international law in any conflict zone in the world. We believe that United Nations (UN) is the reference in settling and resolving international conflicts while meaningful peace can only be achieved if both the Israelis and Palestinians come back to the negotiating table and redefine the way forward to a two-State solution.
In this context, the BWI denounces the American Peace Plan (Deal of the Century). It is an unwelcome intervention that is a departure from the rules and principles of international law disregards internationally accepted processes.
BWI reaffirms that it does not agree with actions or positions that compromise the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to recover their lands occupied by Israel since 1967, and their right to self-determination and the establishment of their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Israel will prevent the establishment of a viable and geographically connected Palestinian state after applying strict military separation measures that will lead to the destruction of the existing road and street network in the West Bank. The construction of new road networks is projected to double the internal pressure on the Palestinians, specially the more than 200,000 Palestinian residents whose social surroundings, their political space and their field of work which is mainly in agriculture will restrict their economic possibilities. The base of Israeli investment in the Palestinian Valley may then operate at the expense of the indigenous people and Palestinian landowners.
Therefore, BWI calls on the trade union movement and their allies to urge their governments and parliaments to put pressure on the government of Israel and the American administration, to adhere to the rules of international law and call for return to direct negotiations, as well as to demand a real investigation on the occupation’s crimes against the Palestinian people, who are under the yoke of the Israeli occupation, and the recognition of the State of Palestine on the borders of 1967 and its capital, Al-Quds Al-Sharif.
In addition, BWI, in support of the international community and the global trade union movement statements, calls upon all its affiliates and the wider labour movement to denounce the proposed illegal Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley, and to do all in their powers to maximise pressure on their respective governments to:
- Unreservedly condemn the annexation plans;
- Commit to supporting international sanctions on the Israeli government should it proceed with the annexation.
9 July 2020, Scotland
Scottish civil society call for sanctions against Israel
As representatives of Scottish civil society, we are extremely concerned for the fate of the Palestinian people who have suffered under Israeli occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid for decades. Despite the numerous declarations and resolutions of international bodies such as the United Nations which uphold Palestinian rights including the right of return to their homes and properties from which they have been displaced, no concrete actions have been taken to ensure the state of Israel ends its violations of Palestinian rights.
Instead we witness silence and ever-increasing complicity from our governments, institutions and corporations. In Scotland, our local authority pension funds continue to invest in some companies that arm Israel and in others those that directly sustain Israel’s illegal occupation, such as Bank Hapoalim. Meanwhile, our governments and senior politicians join with coordinated attempts to silence campaigners who are responding to the call from Palestinian workers and organisations from across civil society to boycott, divest from and sanction (BDS) the State of Israel and companies that are profiting from its breaches in international law.
We expect to hear shortly whether the Israeli government will announce the formal annexation of the occupied Palestinian territories. There has been widespread condemnation of annexation plans from across the political spectrum and from UN experts. We fully endorse the call from Palestinian civil society on all States, to stop the illegal annexation and to comply with their international obligation to cooperate to end grave violations of international law ‘by adopting effective countermeasures, including sanctions, to end Israel’s unlawful acquisition of Palestinian territory through use of force, its regime of apartheid, and its denial of our inalienable right to self-determination’.
Whether the annexation goes ahead or not, we know that the Israeli government has no regard for international law; their contempt for Palestinian rights illustrated by their appointment of Tzipi Hotovely as Israel’s next UK ambassador, an extremist who said ‘there is no Palestinian people’ and who is currently the Israeli Government minister responsible for Israel’s illegal settlements.
As we approach the 15th anniversary of the BDS Call on 9 July, we take inspiration from the Black Lives Matter movement, whose founders have made Palestine a core component of their struggle against racism. The cold-blooded killing of George Floyd has led to widespread calls for action to finally acknowledge and root out institutional and state racism. We believe that this effort must be sincere and consistent which means that we also finally confront and help bring to an end the state racism and apartheid structures of the State of Israel. To this end, we reiterate our endorsement of the Palestinian BDS Call for non-violent punitive measures: encourage Scottish cultural and sporting bodies to boycott representatives of the state of Israel; urge action from Scottish pension funds to divest from companies that are helping to sustain state racism and apartheid in Israel-Palestine; and call for our governments to end their arms trade with Israel and to place sanctions on Israel.
Palestinian civil society calls on States to sanction Israel to stop illegal annexation, 21 May 2020
Israel’s next UK ambassador is a settler extremist, 12 June 2020
Israeli annexation of parts of the Palestinian West Bank would break international law – UN experts call on the international community to ensure accountability, 16 June 2020
- Rozanne Foyer, General Secretary, Scottish TUC
- Lilian Macer, Convener and Stephen Smellie, Depute Convener, Unison Scotland
- Wael Shawish, Chairperson, Scottish Palestinian Society
- Ruth Harvey, Leader, The Iona Community
- Mary Church, Head of Campaigns, Friends of the Earth Scotland
- Omar Afzal, Head of Mosques and Communities, Muslim Council of Scotland
- Scottish Jews Against Zionism
- Scotland Against Criminalising Communities
- Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
- Aberdeen TUC
- Dundee TUC
- Edinburgh TUC
- Cumbernauld and Kilsyth TUC
- Kilmarnock and Loudoun TUC
- Aberdeenshire UNISON
- Marian Pallister, Chair, Pax Christi Scotland
- Hussein Ezzedine, Branch Secretary, ASLEF Edinburgh No1 Branch
- Colin Gill, Branch Secretary, NW/1400/5 Branch Unite
- John Finnie MSP
- Dr Yvonne Ridley, Author & journalist
- David Jamieson, Editor, Conter
- Pauline Goldsmith, Actor
- Tam Dean Burn, Actor
- Nabil Shaban, CEO, Sirius Pictures
- Zachary Ware, Musician, Meadows Lane Music
- Charles Frazer, Musician
- Derrick Johnston, Co-founder, Make That A Take
- Konrad Rekas, Chair, Polish YES for Scotland
- The SANE Collective
- Aberdeen Social Centre
- Craig Adams, Custodian, Black Cat Worker Collective
- Orkney Friends of Palestine
- Edinburgh Action for Palestine (branch of PSC)
- Glasgow Palestine Human Rights Campaign
- ISM Scotland
- Eilidh Gittus, Trade union organiser
- John Connon, Steward, UNISON
- Liam O’Donnell, Biomedical Scientist, NHS Scotland
- Phillip Johnson, Green Orb Web Design