The delegates to the Annual Conference of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), the umbrella group for every trade union in Scotland, today voted unanimously and repeatedly against Israeli apartheid. The 450 delegates voted to:
- campaign to expose the role of the racist JNF (Jewish National Fund) in the Israeli apartheid system
- support the participants in the Welcome to Palestine initiative who tried to travel peacefully to Palestine via Tel Aviv Airport
- fully support the Palestinian-Brazilian call for the World Social Forum-Free Palestine in Brazil in November
- support the Palestinian hunger strikers and the work of Addameer, the Palestinian prisoner support organisation.
Congress delegates congratulated the students for their work organising Israeli Apartheid Week 2012 events, who initiated action in support of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike and called for support for the Scottish demonstration this Saturday 28th April in Edinburgh.
These decisions of the Scottish TUC in support of the Palestinian freedom struggle, by a union confederation representing half a million organised workers in every sector of the economy, will be widely seen as a continuation of the international solidarity the STUC also provided to the liberation struggle in South Africa. Glasgow, Scotland's biggest city, named a city centre street after Mandela in 1986 while he was still on Robben Island. How long till there is a Palestine Square or Palestine Street in our major cities?
The full text of the resolutions – all passed unanimously – is given below.
The Jewish National Fund
That this Congress notes that the Jewish National Fund acquisition and control of land in Israel and the occupied territories actively discriminates against Palestinians.
Congress calls on the General Council to:
- endorse the international call for action against the Jewish National Fund;
- campaign to expose the role of the Jewish National Fund in the oppression of Palestinians; and
- campaign to have the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund revoked.
(Mover: Midlothian TUC)
Emergency Motion - Palestine
- notes that despite prisoner releases, over 4,600 Palestinian political prisoners remain in detention, including 203 children.
- applauds the steadfastness of 1,200 Palestinian political prisoners who began an open-ended hunger strike on 17 April to protest against 'administrative detention', where detainees are held without charge or trial for up to six months and which can be renewed repeatedly.
- congratulates the student Palestine solidarity network for organising the biggest ever 'Israeli Apartheid Week' of educational and solidarity events and for their mobilisation across Scotland in support of Palestinian political prisoners.
- believes that the engagement of students, trade unionists and others with Palestinian civil society can only strengthen the current human-rights based approach to Palestinian self-determination and is essential to building a future of peace and democracy in the Middle East.
- therefore welcomes the January call by the Palestinian National Committee and the Brazilian National preparatory committee for the 2012 'World Social Forum: Free Palestine' to be held at Porto Alegre, Brazil in November. Conference believes that this "Global Meeting of Solidarity with Palestine" will underline the strength and diversity of the support for the Palestinian call for justice.
- therefore instructs the General Council to:
- Support the work of Addameer, Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, by distributing information and updates to affiliates and by supporting appeals for action where appropriate;
- Endorse the Scottish demonstration, called by students in support Palestinian political prisoners and the hunger strikers, taking place in Edinburgh on Saturday 28th April;
- Endorse the WSF Free Palestine as part of the internationalist activities promoted by the STUC and fully support the appeal from the Secretariat of the Palestinian National Committee for the World Social Forum "Free Palestine" to mobilise the Scottish trade union movement towards WSF Free Palestine.
(Mover: Dundee Trades Union Council)
Emergency Motion - 'Welcome to Palestine 2012'
This Congress notes that there is no way into the Occupied Palestinian territories except through Israeli controlled airports or checkpoints.
Congress applauds the 'Welcome to Palestine 2012' initiative which highlighted Israel's oppressive and abhorrent policy of restricting free and unopposed movement to, from and within the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
- the actions of the Israeli government in blacklisting activists from around the world and denying them access to the Palestinian territories.
- the detention of those activists who reached Tel Aviv wishing to visit Bethlehem at the invitation of the Mayor in order to attend the launch of an educational project to build new schools.
- Congress asks the General Council to call upon the Israeli government:
- to allow unrestricted passage to and from the Occupied Palestinian Territories for those wishing to visit.
- to end the continued, illegal siege by air, land and sea of the Palestinian Territories.
(Mover: Midlothian TUC)
That this Congress applauds the successful delivery of humanitarian aid by the Scottish FBU to the Nablus Municipality Fire Department. Congress calls for continued trade union support for Palestinian projects, and for the exploration of a Scottish Trade Union Palestinian Support Group, and report back to Congress in 2013 any progress on this matter.
(Mover: Fire Brigades Union)
President's Address to Congress (Mike Kirby, UNISON):
"There is a growing apartheid elsewhere, in Palestine. There have been many changes since my first official visit with Bill Speirs, Eddie Reilly and Malcolm Burns in 2001, during the Second Intifada. We were challenged by different militia, as we were escorted throughout the Occupied Lands by PGFTU, our hosts. On leaving, at the last stop at Jerusalem, we met members of the British Press Corps, who challenged us that we had only visited one place, met with one people. Eddie Reilly's reply still pertains "We met many Israelis on our travels in Palestine. They were all armed and wearing uniforms." Order may have been restored in many parts under the control of democratically elected representation of Fatah, democratically elected Hamas, and other political organisations. But that order is still enforced by a circle of unlawful Occupation, and the Apartheid Wall divides communities from their lands and work, and families are split apart." Read full President's address