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`We are all Gazans!' -- Palestinian trade unionists appeal for solidarity
January 4, 2009 -- A message from the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions
Sisters and brothers:
The PGFTU has been working at all levels in Palestine and in its international relations to mobilise international support for peace in the region. This is the ultimate goal for our working families in Palestine, who laboured in every way possible to bring about an end to the Israeli occupation of all Palestinian territories. This occupation is the longest and worst in the modern history.
Over the years and even at this moment, these efforts have been met only with terrorism against our people by the Israeli army of occupation, which has indiscriminately destroyed homes and worksites, slaughtered our people, confiscated our land, established and expanded illegal settlements, and limited the movement of workers who are only trying to feed their families. These measures have affected every member of the Palestinian society.
The recent construction of the Apartheid Wall stands as a symbol of the extent of Israel’s brutal aggression against the Palestinian people and denial of their legitimate rights, dignity and human needs.
We call upon all peace-loving people in the world:
You are now witness to the criminal aggression by the Israeli army in its offensive in the Gaza Strip, bringing a new wave of killings and massacres against the Palestinian people by Israel as the occupying state. These are war crimes according to international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions.
As our families in Gaza (the poorest in the Middle East) are being slaughtered nonstop for a week now, many of us are reliving what occurred in the summer of 2006 during the Israeli aggression against the people of Lebanon.
We witnessed then as we experience now waves of support and solidarity and similar anger and energy against this brutal injustice. We cannot afford to let this surge of support pass us by without utilising the moment to build our movement to face future challenges. The most important thing is to be aware and equipped.
We urgently ask you and your sister labour organisations to help us spread the message that “WE ARE ALL GAZA” – that this war is against all poor workers and families of the world. These are not just crimes against the people of Palestine. They are crimes against humanity.
Help us create a strong voice for the working families of Gaza by building coalitions with unions, faith groups, anti-war movements and all social justice organisations.
We join you in the hope that in the election of Barack Obama, he will fulfill his reputation as a pro-union anti-war candidate, and that he understands that the CHANGE he spoke about during the campaign must include a fundamental change in US foreign policy so that “FREE GAZA. …FREE PALESTINE” becomes more than just a slogan.
We support and encourage your Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) efforts against Israel around the world, but especially in Europe and most particularly in the United States as a response to the harsh economic conditions, violations of labour and human rights, and other forms of oppression imposed by the illegal and immoral Israeli Apartheid occupation.
We ask you to stop US aid to Israel. This becomes not only necessary but also a duty of international solidarity among labour unions around the world. It is US government aid that provides Israel with the weapons of oppression and U.S. government support that enables them to use those weapons against our people.
We ask you to be an active player in raising funds to meet the bare necessities of food, medicine and medical supplies for the people of Gaza.
With your solidarity with our struggle for human rights and justice, we can transform this moment of crisis into a turning point for an end to the brutal occupation and a step toward the liberation of the people of Palestine.
With the will and determination of all the people, we can say “FREE PALESTINE … YES WE CAN.
[The Palestine General Federation of Trade Union is an independent democratic trade union federation. It enjoys the full rights according to the valid national legislation. It has been established in 1965 as an extension to the Palestinian labour movement struggle that started in 1921 in “Haifa”, it was known as the Arab Labourers’ Society during the British mandate in Palestine.]
Association of University Teachers in Gaza calls for help
January 4, 2009 -- Bethlehem -- Ma an -- The Palestinian Association of University Teachers in Gaza calls upon all peace-loving, freedom-loving nations, NGOs, universities, intellectuals, cultural and academic institutions, trade unions and syndicates, as well as human rights organisations all over the world to:
1. Immediately impose boycotts, sanctions and divestments on the Apartheid Israeli state.
2. Try the Israeli generals for their ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people.
3. Demand a halt to Israel's savage aggression, end its brutal occupation and lift its suffocating and lethal siege on the Gaza Strip.
4. Implement all UN resolutions related to the inalienable national rights, particularly UN resolution 194 calling for the right of return for the Palestinian refugees to their homes and their property from which they were uprooted by the terrorist Zionist gangs in 1948.
5. Comply with 4th article of the Geneva Convention, the international human rights law, the international humanitarian law, and the universal declaration of human rights as well as all other related agreements.
6. Lift the draconian blockade against Gaza as stipulated by the 1948 Convention on Genocide, and consider anyone participating as a war criminal who must be tried for crimes against humanity.
Israel is a rogue state that is a threat and danger to world peace and security; therefore she must be banished and punished by the international community, before it is too late for the people of Palestine, the people of Israel and the people in the surrounding countries.
End the carnage in Gaza -- Boycott the Israeli academy now!
From the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE)
December 29, 2008 -- The Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees condemns in the strongest possible terms the bombing today of the campus of the Islamic University in Gaza. This wanton destruction of an academic institution is only the latest in the ongoing lethal campaign launched by the Israeli government and army against Palestinian society in the Gaza Strip. This murderous rampage has caused over 300 deaths and the injury of close to 1500 Palestinians. And the carnage continues with impunity.
We add our voice to the urgent appeal issued two days ago by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC)* [see first statement on this page] urging international civil society not just to protest and condemn Israel's massacre in Gaza, but also to join and intensify the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel to end its impunity and to hold it accountable for its persistent violations of international law and Palestinian rights. We agree that, without sustained, effective pressure by people of conscience the world over, Israel will continue with its gradual, rolling acts of genocide against the Palestinians, burying any prospects for a just peace under the blood and rubble of Gaza, Nablus and Jerusalem.
Today, at the height of the lethal Israeli assault against the Palestinian people in Gaza, we are met with deafening silence emanating from the Israeli academy. Does it condone the murderous bombing campaign that its government is carrying out in the name of all Israelis? Are the members of the academy dutifully preparing for the reserve call-up just approved by their government, ready to serve in the death squads committing war crimes around the clock? Are Israeli universities willing to call for an end to the occupation? Are they going to cut their organic and deep-rooted ties with the military-security establishment? There is no doubt that the aggression against the Gaza Strip has reached horrendous proportions, described by many international public figures as constituting war crimes and a continuation of the ethnic cleansing unleashed sixty years ago.
We urge academics around the world to intensify their boycott of Israeli academic institutions, and to isolate the Israeli academy in international forums, associations of academics, and other international venues. Israeli academic institutions are complicit in the entrenched system of oppression practiced by the Israeli state, and their silence at this critical moment is only the most vociferous indicator of this complicity.
Dr. Amjad Barham, president PFUUPE