Palestine: International protection and justice for the people of Palestine, and an end to illegal [Jewish] settlements, demand Global Unions

International Federation of Journalists   /  July 11, 2023

We, Global Unions representing hundreds of millions of workers around the world across most sectors, call for the United Nations (UN), its member states, and the entire international community, to take multilateral actions towards peace in Israel-Palestine. We join the UN High Commission for Human Rights (UNHCHR)’s call for an end to the “illogic of escalation” of violence and coercion.

On 3 July 2023, Israel launched a military offensive into the West Bank, including into the city of Jenin. The offensive followed months of escalating violence; the death of hundreds of Palestinians; and the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2005. This is a flagrant violation of international law, including the UN Charter. We condemn the Israeli government’s deliberate use of lethal force without regard for limits set by international law. 

Violence cannot and must not be the way to resolve conflict. 

We believe that peace and stability are essential for the well-being of workers and their families, and for the sustainable development of the region and the rest of the world. We are deeply concerned about the humanitarian impact of the conflict, and we call for the protection  of civilians, including the right to work, the right to health, the right to move, and the right to education.  

We again see the escalation of violence most pronounced in the illegal [Jewish] settlements in the  occupied territories. The Israeli government must end the exploitation of Palestinians working  inside Israel and in the illegal Israeli settlements and across the occupied territories. The occupation and settlement activities continue to block the Palestinian economy and curtail the Palestinian Authority’s ability to deliver decent work and respect for fundamental principles and rights at work. 

On 23 February 2023, the Council of Global Unions (CGU), of which we are members, submitted a joint CGU letter to the UN Secretary General demanding that the UN: 

  • Lead multilateral, specific actions to deescalate the situation; 
  • Facilitate the involvement of workers in Israel-Palestine as equal stakeholders in  ending the violence and respecting fundamental human rights; and, 
  • Maintain and update the UN Human Rights Office’s database on business enterprises  involved in certain activities relating to settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. 

We reiterate that these demands must be urgently addressed and satisfied by the relevant UN bodies, and support the statement made by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) on the current situation in Palestine. We support a two-state solution in line with UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, and a real economic future for an independent  Palestine. 

We believe the military offensive shows the clear intention of the current Israeli Government  to end any hope of lasting peace and justice in Palestine and Israel. This demands a robust  and unequivocal response from all global institutions, including the global labour movement.  

Therefore, we, as global unions representing millions of workers around the world: 

  • Demand that the UN intervenes to protect the lives of the people of Palestine, including  through the use of Peacekeeping Forces; and, 
  • Call on the global labour movement, under the leadership of the global unions, to consider and pursues all possible options to target and pressure companies, employers and investors that are involved in, or that facilitate the expansion and continuation of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. 

The Global Unions signing this joint statement are: