The Guardian • Issue #2097

ACTU statement on Gaza

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2097

WA Branch Perth, rally, 16 March, 2014.

The Australian Union movement is a movement of peace and respect for all races and nationalities. We oppose war, racism, and oppression. We act in solidarity.

The Australian Union movement is horrified by the escalating violence and death toll of civilians in Gaza. The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) reiterates its statements and resolution of 19 October 2023 and 23 February 2024 and continues to call for an urgent and permanent ceasefire and the release of hostages and political prisoners.

The Australian Union movement is a movement of many cultures, communities, nationalities and faiths, we call on all community, civil society organisations, and faith groups in Australia to build unity, oppose racism and promote cultural harmony and tolerance throughout their membership.

We condemn the deaths of over 34,000 civilians since 7 October including (1,200 Israelis and over 33,000 Palestinians). We condemn the killing of Zomi Frankcom and other aid workers, including those working for Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA partner MA’AN development centre who have been working on emergency relief in Gaza.

The situation facing people in Gaza is dire: two million people are facing food insecurity. Food shortages have exceeded famine levels and mass death is imminent. The ACTU condemns the use of starvation as a weapon of war and urges Israel to comply with the International Court of Justice’s Order to take immediate steps to prevent acts of genocide, punish incitement to genocide, and facilitate the provision of basic services and humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza. Israel must immediately provide food and essentials to people in Gaza and ensure unimpeded access for humanitarian aid.

The ACTU welcomes the Australian government reinstating funding to UNRWA, appointing a special advisor to assess the IDF investigation of the killing of Zomi Frankcom, and calling for a two state solution.

The ACTU is deeply concerned, however, at evidence that Australia companies supply parts used as part of global supply chains , including to F-35 fighter jets. Israel utilises F-35 fighter jets to drop bombs on Gaza. Under international law, Australia has obligations to deny exports that could or would be used to violate humanitarian law and must employ all means to prevent genocide by another state. The Australian government must take active steps to ensure it is not contributing to breaches of international law.

The ACTU calls on the Australian government to take immediate steps to secure peace by:

  • Using all influence, pressure, and diplomatic measures to achieve a permanent ceasefire.
  • Ending all military trade with Israel
  • Enacting targeted sanctions on Israeli officials who have called for the denial of aid, and military and civil servants denying essential food and materials to civilians of Gaza.
  • Committing additional funding of $100 million in humanitarian assistance to Gaza and the West Bank.

This latest escalation is part of a decades-long conflict that must be brought to a just outcome through dialogue and respect for international law, including human rights.

The ACTU calls on the Israeli government and the Palestinian leadership to promote open, tolerant and respectful societies through adherence to democratic principles in governance, respect for human rights and equal treatment for all.

The ACTU calls for an end to the occupation of Palestine and a just and sustainable peace in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions. Including the removal of illegal settlements, the withdrawal of Israel from all Palestinian lands along with the dismantling of the separation wall. In line with the ACTU’s commitment to a two-state solution with the security of borders for both nations, we call on all countries to recognise, without delay, Palestine as a sovereign state with East Jerusalem as its capital. This will confirm the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination in a free and independent Palestine.

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