Motion no: 40

Derry Trades Union Council

This Biennial Delegate Conference applauds all those in the trade union movement here, including Congress officials and Trade Union Friends of Palestine, for their continued commitment to demonstrate effective solidarity with the Palestinian people. Conference recognises that the ICTU taking the lead in coordinating and promoting a mass mobilisation of civil society across all of the island of Ireland would be one of the most effective ways to strengthen this campaign. Conference therefore authorises the Executive Council to explore the promotion of an 'Ireland Declaration for Palestine,' encompassing support from all sectors of Irish civil society, that calls for an end to Israeli human rights abuses, the implementation of UN resolutions and support for the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Conference welcomes the progress made in producing educational, publicity and briefing material to help promote ICTU policy. We consider it essential, as part of the campaign of education of global solidarity leaders, and of the wider membership, that information is provided on the historic and continuing role of key Zionist institutions like the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund in planning and implementing the vast array of discriminatory policies against Palestinians that have now created conditions of Apartheid. The decision of both the British TUC and the Scottish TUC to undertake a review of their relationship with Histadrut.The campaign led by Jewish people of conscience across the world, including Holocaust survivors, to have the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund withdrawn. Conference also wishes to record its deep concern at the alarming deterioration of Palestinian human rights in East Jerusalem. We note the statement of the UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk that "the continued pattern of settlement expansion in East Jerusalem combined with forcible eviction of long residing Palestinians are creating an intolerable situation that can only be described, in its cumulative impact, as a form of ethnic cleansing". We are outraged that the Israeli Government continues to impose an illegal blockade by land, sea and air of the people of Gaza creating conditions of immense human suffering. The planned, deliberate and very public suppression of the people of Gaza, including acts of mass slaughter as in operation Cast Lead, are not just a denial of the human rights of Palestinians but are a most serious undermining of the value and authority of International Law itself and may have the gravest implications for all of humanity. We applaud, therefore, the efforts of all those who are attempting to breach the siege of Gaza and to bring humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza by land and sea. We similarly applaud and will seek to offer support to the efforts of all those Palestinians, Israelis, and international humanitarian activists who, despite being subject to increasing Israeli state surveillance and repression, struggle to uphold the rights of Palestinians in the West bank and East Jerusalem. We particularly applaud and will also offer support to the heroic activity of the Bil'in Popular Committee in its weekly protest action against the building of the Separation Wall and the seizure of Palestinian land. We authorize the Executive Council to register a strong protest regarding the situation in Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to the Israeli Government. We also authorise the Executive Council to seek to have a meeting with the Irish Government at the highest level to register our concerns and to call on the Irish Government to take effective action including within the European Union to defend International Humanitarian Law and the rights of the Palestinian people.