Passed at ICTU biennial conference, Friday 6 July 2007


This ICTU Biennial Conference is outraged at the continued human
rights abuses being suffered by the Palestinian people. We
particularly note the following:

* the continued occupation and destruction of Palestinian lands
and Palestinian homes in breach of the Geneva Convention and numerous
United Nations resolutions

* the continuation of mass arrests, of torture and of
extra-judicial killings

* the horrific assaults on the population of Gaza ‘ the frequent
killings of civilians including on a mass scale as at Beit Hanun, or
the family of Houda Galia wiped out as they sat on the beach; the
enclosure of the people of Gaza with razor wire and electrified
fences, where they are subjected to frequent invasion and constant
surveillance ‘ including the sinister unmanned drones targeting for
bombing raids, or the over-flights of ear-shattering jet fighters.

* the deliberate and illegal destruction of civilian
infra-structure including electricity and water supplies

* the imposition of collective punishment, banned under
international law, including the bulldozing of houses, the uprooting
of ancient olive groves and destruction of industrial unit

* the policy of ethnic cleansing designed to make life unbearable
for all Palestinians under both Israeli and Palestinian authority –
the on-going in-depth surveillance and control of the population
including the forced division of families, and restrictions on free
movement to deny them access to work, to education and to health-care
‘ even in emergency situations such as child-birth

* the enforced bankruptcy of the Palestinian Authority and the
impoverishment of the Palestinian People by the withholding of tax
revenues [ value? ]; the impositions on the free movement of finance;
the blocking of Palestinian exports and the blocking of international
support and grant aid

* the continued building of the Apartheid Wall in defiance of the
ruling of the International Court of Justice in the Hague, creating a
series of ‘bantustans’ in the West Bank, fracturing families and
communities, depriving Palestinians of their most productive land and
water supplies and effectively annexing East Jerusalem into Israeli

* the continued building of illegal Israeli settlements in the
West Bank, with the associated oppressive policing of the local
population, the demolishing of Palestinian homes, the theft of land
and water and the disruption of Palestinian infra-structure

Conference also notes that the British and Irish Governments and the
European Union have failed in their obligations under International
Law – in terms of the Geneva Convention, the UN and the International
Court ‘ to challenge the activities of the Israeli government. A
reasonable response would be the imposition of political and economic
sanctions. Instead it is the Palestinians who have been punished by
the withholding of grant aid, whilst the criminal actions of the
Israeli state are further appeased by continuing to grant them
preferential trading rights under Article 2 of the Euro-Mediterranean
Association Agreement. Conference notes that the European Union is
formally obligated under the human rights clause in Article 2 to
suspend the trading privileges enjoyed by Israel if it is in breach of
human rights. The litany of human rights abuses, atrocities and war
crimes should long ago have led to the ending of the agreement ‘
indeed the European Parliament has already on two separate occasions
called on the Council of Ministers to take this action.

In pursuance of ICTU policy to campaign in solidarity with the
Palestinian people, and in recognition of the depths of oppression
being suffered by them, conference authorizes the executive of ICTU to
undertake the following:

A] That the ICTU make direct representations to the European Council
of Ministers to challenge the withholding of EU funding, and
addressing the fact that the EU has failed in its obligations under
international law to oppose the actions of Israel. ICTU also demands
the ending of the preferential trading status enjoyed by Israel under
the Euro-Med. Agreement.

B] That the ICTU could seek a meeting with the Minister for Foreign
Affairs and the Irish EU Commissioner to express our grave concerns
about these issues, specifically to address the illegality of the
Israeli actions, and to call for an appropriate and effective

C] That the representatives of ICTU raise these issues at the European
TUC, and call upon concerted EU-wide trade union solidarity action to
protest at the indifference of EU governments, at the failure of the
strategy of ‘constructive engagement’ with the state of Israel, and at
what is effectively the appeasement of the Israeli aggression and
territorial expansionism.

D] To actively and vigorously promote a policy of divestment from
Israeli companies recognising that it is one of the most effective
ways to ensure that the Israeli government is made aware of the extent
of opposition to its crimes against humanity. ICTU will encourage
affiliates to apply a policy of ethical investment in terms of pension
fund holdings, and seek to ensure that investments are therefore
withdrawn from Israeli companies as well as companies such as
Catepillar and Irish Cement Roadholdings that directly support the
Israeli occupation and destruction of Palestinian land. Affiliates
will also be encouraged to use whatever influence they can bring to
bear on employers in both the private and state sector to apply such a
policy of ethical investment.

E] To actively and vigorously promote a boycott of Israeli goods and
services similar to the boycott of South African goods during the era
of apartheid. ICTU will proactively support such a boycott policy by
working with affiliates on a programme of educational activities, by a
media campaign and by working alongside human rights and humanitarian
relief organisations.

F] That the solidarity links between the Irish, Palestinian and
Israeli labour movements be strengthened by a delegation of senior
trade union leaders to the occupied areas. ICTU will also invite
Palestinian trade union representatives to visit Ireland to encourage
greater awareness of the situation in Palestine today, and to support
the call for divestment, boycott and sanctions.

G] That the implementation of ICTU policy be further strengthened by
the formation of Trade Union Friends of Palestine groups in the
Republic of Ireland to work alongside TUFP in Northern Ireland. That
ICTU hosts a TUFP conference, with invited international speakers, to
further develop trade union solidarity action.


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