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Italian metalworkers, Western Australian maritime workers call for boycott of apartheid Israel

Italy's metalworkers: Prosecute Israeli war crimes, suspend EU-Israel agreement

Federazione Impiegati Operai Metallurgici nazionale (FIOM), the largest metalworkers' union in Italy, whose membership numbers 360,000, called for prosecution of Israeli officials for war crimes and suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, as well as of the military cooperation agreement between Italy and Israel. The following is FIOM's January 13 2009 statement on Gaza, published on the union's web site.

Federazione Impiegati Operai Metallurgici nazionale, Corso Trieste, 36 - 00198 Roma, tel. +39 06 85262341-2 fax +39 06 85303079,, email:


13 gennaio 2009


For nearly two years the Gaza Strip has been subjected to what can only be described as a state of siege by Israel, with interruption of electricity, lack of heating, scarcity of drinking water, a healthcare emergency and no freedom of movement for persons or goods. UN Observers have repeatedly denounced the condition of the inhabitants of Gaza as inhumane, in violation of all international conventions on human rights.

Thus, it appears a kind of "collective punishment" has been imposed on all Palestinians because of the vote expressed in the democratic elections two years ago, with a Hamas victory. For FIOM, the negative political evaluation of this organisation is not up for discussion and we reiterate our choice to support the formation of an independent, secular and democratic Palestinian state living in peace and mutual security with that of Israel. What we denounce is the international community's tolerance and, in fact, support of the mistaken choice of the siege, which contributed to the strengthening of the fundamentalist forces and armed groups of all types, rather than their isolation. The launch of Kassam rockets on Israel is also the result of this situation.  This rocket fire is wrong and illegal, because it hurts Israeli civilians. It is harmful to the Palestinian cause itself. And it is used to create consensus in the Israeli population on the offensive against the people of Gaza. The Israeli army began its attack on Gaza on December 27, 2008, with a substantial deployment of forces, followed by a land invasion and use of white phosphorus on the civilian population, which is banned by international conventions, causing a true massacre, and committing intolerable war crimes for any democratic conscience.

Israel has gone so far as to attempt to hide what is happening, preventing international observers and journalists from entering Gaza. Those responsible for these crimes must be prosecuted and judged by the relevant international institutions. The Israeli government should be held accountable for its repeated violations of international law, including humanitarian law, by national governments, the European Union, the international community, just as violations committed by any other government would be.

In particular, the EU-Israel Association Agreement, whose application is bound to respect of human rights, should be immediately suspended; the Italian government, which, unlike other European governments, has characterised itself in a negative light by the complete subordination and support of political choices of the Israeli government, must suspend the Military Cooperation Agreement of Italy with Israel, a belligerent country that violates international law and human rights.

In denouncing this situation, the FIOM Central Committee believes it necessary to immediately ensure that all political forces, the government, European and international institutions work for:

  • An immediate, general and permanent ceasefire;
  • Humanitarian protection of the civilian population of Gaza;
  • An end to the invasion of Gaza and withdrawal of Israeli troops; - Cessation of missile fire on Israel;
  • An end to the siege and embargo of Gaza;
  • Concrete steps to achieve a rapid end to the occupation of Palestinian territories.

These conditions can promote the opening of a negotiated peace -- based on the resolutions of the United Nations -- which includes all stakeholders, beginning with the legitimate institution of the PNA, and finding ways to include Hamas as a democratically elected representative.

The FIOM Central Committee condemns all initiatives of an anti-Semitic nature and those that deny the right of the State of Israel to exist.

We judge negatively all anti-Arab or anti-Muslim expressions.

We express our solidarity to Palestinian people and our support to that brave minority inside Israeli civil society that is fighting against the occupation, against the Gaza siege and the current massacre.

We commit ourselves to supporting the above-mentioned objectives and in participating in all the activities that focus on them.

On the 17th of January, different groups and coalitions called for two separate demonstrations for the ceasefire in Gaza. Although we think these simultaneous demonstration inopportune, we believe that it is essential that the two initiatives not to be in contrast, because in both cases the demonstrations are in solidarity with Palestinian people and to stop the massacre.

Therefore, FIOM, in addition to participating in the demonstration in Assisi, called by Tavola della Pace, that engages the whole of CGIL, will also be present with a delegation at the demonstration in Rome, called by the Palestinian community.

* * *

Maritime Union of Australia, Western Australian monthly branch meeting, January 27, 2009

Resolutions passed regarding the Gaza war

1. This delegates' meeting of the WA branch of the MUA [hereafter this meeting] calls on the Rudd government to denounce the latest Israeli aggression against Gaza, and to cut all economic, diplomatic, cultural and political ties with the Israeli state until this aggression and the Israeli siege of Gaza ends.

2.  This meeting gives full its organisatonal and financial support to the protest movement in Australia against the Israeli aggression. In particular the WA branch of the MUA will inform its membership of the Friends of Palestine WA rally taking place this Saturday (January 31, 2009) at midday in Forrest Place, [Perth] and provide a speaker, preferably Secretary Chris Cain.

3.  We also call on the Australian Council of Trade Unions and Unions WA to give full organisational and financial support to the protest movement in Australia against the Israeli aggression. In particular we call on Unions WA to give full organisational and financial support to the action initiated by Friends of Palestine WA which will be happening at midday in Forrest Place on Saturday January 31st.

4.We will participate fully in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign when it is initiated and support actions related thereof when they are called by either Friends of Palestine WA or other interested parties (including other trade unions).  We call on the ACTU and Unions WA to join us in supporting the BDS campaign and specific actions related thereof.

5. In furtherance of resolution 4, this meeting recommends State Conference adopt a position of boycotting all Israeli-registered vessels, and all vessels known to be carrying either goods destined for Israel or goods sourced from Israel.

6. We stand, as we always have, for the long union tradition of campaigning for peace, which has always been a principle of the union movement in Australia.

[See also Australian unionists back `boycott apartheid Israel' call.]

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