UNISON stands in solidarity with trade unions and workers in Palestine and Israel, and supports their calls for peace, justice and rights.
We are deeply concerned by the rapid escalation of violence and support calls for the international community to take immediate steps to stop the devastating attacks and end the 54-year occupation.
Since the bombing of Gaza began on 10 May, over 200 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli forces, including at least 34 women and 60 children. Rockets fired from Gaza have also killed 10 people in Israel.
UNISON condemns the violence and regrets the loss of life and injury to both Palestinians and Israelis. The Israeli government must comply with international law and immediately end these deadly attacks.
For the last 14 years, the people of Gaza have endured a restrictive land, sea and air blockade, which has undermined fundamental human rights and access to essential services and decent work for two million Palestinians.
The latest hostilities, which take place in the context of COVID-19, have further destroyed or damaged important infrastructure, severely affecting the provision of water, sanitation, healthcare, education and housing.
The planned forced eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, and police brutality towards the protestors who supported them, as well as increasing restrictions on Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, have undoubtedly contributed to the unrest across Palestine and Israel we have seen in recent days.
Tensions were further exacerbated by the brutal scenes when police raided the al-Aqsa mosque during the holy month of Ramadan.
We are deeply concerned by the recent upsurge in antisemitism in the UK and across the world. We condemn those who seek to blame Jewish people for the actions of the Israeli government and sow fear, hatred and division in our communities. Their unacceptable racist acts undermine human rights and the prospects of peace and justice.
The UK government has called for a de-escalation and restraint, but it must go further and take concrete action to demand that the Israeli government complies with international law and immediately stop its bombing of Gaza, ends the blockade and occupation, and allows humanitarian access to those in need.
We continue to call on the UK government to:
- suspend the UK’s arms trade with the government of Israel and support calls for a UN arms embargo;
- prohibit trade with illegal settlements and suspend the UK Israel Association Agreement until the Israeli government complies with its human rights clauses; and
- demand a halt to the planned evictions of families in Sheikh Jarrah and other communities, the destruction of Palestinian homes and other property, and the building of illegal settlements, which violate fundamental human rights, are illegal under international law and undermine the prospects of a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel.
We urge UNISON activists to write to their member of Parliament to demand that the government take action on the above demands, and encourage branches to support the work of Medical Aid for Palestinians emergency appeal, in response to the situation.