Tuesday, 20 January 2009


The Lambeth Branch of UNISON, the second largest trade union in the UK, has voted to condemn the recent slaughter of Palestinians and the ongoing occupation by Israel at a meeting of its Branch Committee this morning.

At its monthly meeting of representatives, the Branch called for, "an immediate end to the slaughter of defenceless people and the [ongoing] siege of Gaza." The Branch concluded that, "Israel is an...apartheid state," and has advocated academic, economic and cultural boycotts of Israel in an effort to delegitimise the Occupation of Palestine, and build international and domestic pressure against the state.

For over 6 decades Israel has carried out policies of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people.1.5 million people live in Gaza, which is now effectively open air prison. For years Israel has blocked the transport of food, medicine and vital supplies forcing the people of Gaza to live in inhumane conditions and the vast majority of people are unemployed.

Palestinian medical sources say at least 1,300 Palestinians have been killed and 5,500 injured as a result Israeli's latest military offensive. The United Nations states that some 50,800 people are now homeless and 400,000 are without running water. Staff in Gaza report that many more people could die as medical equipment runs out.

Nationally, UNISON has committed to send a donation of 10,000 to Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and Lambeth Branch is raising its own donations locally. The Branch voted to affiliate with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and to work towards submitting an emergency motion to the UNISON National Delegate Conference in July, demanding diplomatic sanctions and boycotts against Israel. The Branch also resolved to build links with Palestinians, Israelis and Egyptians who oppose the assault on Gaza and to send messages of solidarity to those students at British universities who have undertaken occupations demanding support from their institutions for the Palestinian right to education.

Lambeth UNISON's International Officer, Gurmeet Khurana, stated: "The British trade union movement played a crucial part in denouncing and delegitimising the racist ideology of Apartheid in South Africa, and now it must do the same for Israel. The only peaceful solution is one brought about by political and economic equality in the Middle East, and as such the policy of the Israeli state in carrying out ethnic cleansing needs to be condemned unequivocally."

Notes for Editors
1. For more information about Lambeth UNISON, visit: http://lambethunison.blogspot.com/

2. Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) works for the health of Palestinians (especially in conditions of occupation, displacement or exile) based on principles of self-determination and social justice: http://www.map-uk.org

3. BRICUP is an organisation of UK based academics, set up in response to the Palestinian Call for Academic Boycott.: http://www.bricup.org.uk

4. Palestine Solidarity Campaign: http://www.palestinecampaign.org

James Caspell
Lambeth UNISON Publicity Officer

No comments: