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9 Jul, 2014

Britain’s Largest Trade Union Slams Israel as Apartheid State

LIVERPOOL, July 8, 2014 – (WAFA) – Britain’s largest trade union, Unite, condemned Tuesday Israeli crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory and joined the international campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

At the three-day annual meeting held in Liverpool, Unite adopted several motions in regard to the Palestinian cause.

The first motion, ‘Israel and Palestine’ condemned Israel for committing ‘apartheid crimes’ against the Palestinian people. According to Middle East Monitor, it also condemned Israeli violations of international law such as settlement construction, crimes of persecution against the Palestinian people, and the Israeli military’s detention and torture of Palestinian children. It also highlighted Israeli racist laws affecting Palestinian citizens of Israel.

The union requested its members, estimated to be over 1.5 million, to take bolder steps like those that were taken against the South African apartheid regime as part of the fight against the Israeli ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. The union announced that it would work with others to develop a campaigning and leverage strategy around BDS within the next 12 months, notably against complicit companies involved in the occupation, the apartheid wall and the illegal settlements, such as Veolia, G4S and Sainsbury’s.

Unite also adopted a motion on the inhuman conditions of siege in Syria-based Yarmouk refugee camp, where Palestinians have been killed in military attacks and died from malnutrition. According to Middle East Monitor, the conference “urged all parties to withdraw and allow humanitarian aid to reach [camp residents] without further delay.” As part of the Yarmouk resolution, Unite also reaffirmed “its commitment to Resolution 194 which asserts the rights of Palestinians [expelled by Israel] to return to their land”.

The third motion titled “Israeli-Palestinian Co-operation” was not carried, however. The motion expressed support for the stricken U.S.-led peace talks and encouraged engagement with both Israeli and Palestinian trade unions.