demands end to Palestinian slaughter
urges Israeli boycott
by ROGER BAGLEY
24 April 2002
BRITAINS biggest union UNISON
called for a boycott of Israeli goods yesterday in protest at the
slaughter in Palestine.
A meeting of the publicsector unions national executive council
said that the boycott should continue until the Sharon government
agreed to comply with UN resolutions and return to the negotiating
The executive council condemned the Israeli government for its
continuing policy of state terrorism in violation of
A hard-hitting executive statement warned that Israels continuing
offensive against Palestinian targets would not stop the spate of
suicide bombings against Israeli forces and civilians.
We condemn unreservedly the killing of innocent civilians
by suicide bombers and believe that there can be no justification
whatsoever for such acts, said the statement.
But it added that the suicide bombings were fuelled by the
deep frustration and despair of the Palestinian people living under
Israeli occupation and by the indiscriminate use of brute military
force against innocent civilians.
UNISON also called for an immediate halt to British arms sales
Union officials will be approaching other trade unions representing
workers involved in the production and transport of arms and equipment
for the Israeli armed forces, urging them to refuse to produce and
transport these items to Israel.
UNISON urged a negotiated political solution in accordance with
UN resolutions, with Israel living in peace within pre- 1967 borders
and the creation of a viable Palestinian state.
The union is to donate cash to the United Nations emergency appeal
fund for the West Bank and Gaza.
In addition, the executive reaffirmed its opposition to escalating
the military action against Iraq.
Senior Palestinian representative in London Afif Safieh said yesterday
that the Palestinian community in Britain was deeply moved
by the UNISON national executive resolution.
It reflects the maturing of awareness within British public
We would hope that British government policy in the future
would reflect the depth of feeling, sympathy, solidarity and support
from the British public for Palestinian aspirations.
UNISON joins a growing list of British trade union organisations
protesting against Israels murderous and repressive policies.
The Scottish TUC congress last week called for a temporary boycott
of Israeli goods unless Tel Aviv pulls its forces out of the occupied
Teaching unions NUT and NATFHE recently called for Israeli withdrawal
from the occupied territories and for implementation of UN resolutions.
A major demonstration will be held in London on May 18 for justice
for the Palestinian people and an immediate end to Israels
South African Water and Forestry Minister Ronnie Kasrils also called
for a boycott of Israeli goods yesterday in protest at Israeli repression.
Joining a protest demonstration in Cape Town, Mr Kasrils said:
I am Jewish born. Since Israel purports to speak and act in
the name of Jews everywhere, we are saying: No, not in my