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labor International Labor Statements on Gaza

Global labor organizations offered different views on the violence engulfing Gaza and Israel, but the call for peace and justice for all -- Palestinians and Israelis -- predominated.

Building and Wood Workers International

Israel-Palestine:  Stop atrocities against civilians, ceasefire now…

The Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) expresses grave concern at the escalation of violence against civillians and thousands of workers in Gaza and across Israel.  BWI calls on the United Nations, the international community, and all countries in the region to act for peace, de-escalation of violence and robust actions to halt the war on innocent civiliians, and deliver the two-state solution.  All efforts must be made to protect civilians from a humanitarian catastrophe and call on the UN and international community to exercise influence to safeguard civilians' accrss to basic needs, water, food, medicine and energy.   and demand to "end the vicious circle of bloodshed, hatred and polarisation in the Middle East."  


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Therefore, we call on the international community to work together to immediately start a peace process under the auspices of the United Nations. BWI echoes the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ calls for a “negotiated peace” that fulfills the national aspirations of the Palestinians and the materialisation of the needs of Israel for security through a vision of the two-state solution and demand to “end the vicious circle of bloodshed, hatred and polarisation in the Middle East.” Workers and their families are unfortunate victims of all wars, and their fundamental rights must be protected. BWI believes that it is compelling now for the United Nations to intervene with a decisive action to halt – and finally end the decades-long conflict. The loss of innocent lives is an unacceptable outcome of the conflict. BWI extends its heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives during this deeply tragic and challenging time.

Education International

Joint EI - ETUC Statement on Israel and Palestine…

Education International and the European Trade Union Committee for Education condemn the severe attack Hamas launched against Israel. Education International stands in solidarity with the teachers, students, and communities in the region and calls on the international community to do their utmost to stop the bloodshed and avoid a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

"The Hamas attack on Israel is unacceptable. Educators around the world stand with our colleagues, students, and communities in Israel and Palestine and denounce the violent aggression. The violence must end. Our hearts go out to the families of all who have lost their lives. The international community must stand united in condemning any form of violence and in supporting lasting peace negotiations,” stated David Edwards, Education International General Secretary.

Susan Flocken, Director of ETUCE, the European Trade Union Committee for Education, the European Region of Education International said: “Teachers, academics and their unions in Europe are shocked by the new outbreak of violence in Israel and Palestine. ETUCE condemns the military aggression and expresses its support and solidarity with colleagues, teachers, academics and students and all people in the region. This new outbreak of war and retaliation puts the lives of millions of people at stake. The war must end. We call on the international community to do their utmost to support a peace agreement.”

Education International reiterates the call of the 2019 EI World Congress urging both Hamas and Israel to: “Renounce violence and commit to engage in direct negotiations. We have engaged with member organisations in Israel and Palestine to promote the importance of dialogue and of preserving the values of education and peace. We affirm our unwavering commitment to our member organisations in the region - the Israel Teacher Union (ITU) and the Association of Secondary School Teachers in Israel (ASSTI) as well as the General Union of Palestinian Teachers (GUPT), the General Union of Workers in Kindergartens and Private Schools (GUWKPS) and the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE).For too long the loss of human life has threatened the security of the entire region. The far-reaching consequences of war cannot be understated. The people in the region have a right to a future free of violence and war. The world must stand with them and redouble efforts to ensure peace. There is an urgent and imperative need for the international community to support, in every way possible, the realization of a peaceful and sustainable solution.

International Federation of Journalists

Palestine: At least five journalists killed in Gaza…

Five Palestinian journalists have been killed, several have been injured and others are missing during on-going military operations between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) condemn the killings and continued attacks on journalists. The IFJ calls for an immediate investigation into their deaths.

In such dangerous conditions, the IFJ reminds journalists on the ground to take precautions, wear professional safety equipment and not to travel without their media providing them with all the professional safety equipment needed to cover events. No story is worth the life of a journalist. 

In the early hours of 7 October, Hamas launched an unprecedented attack in southern Israel. In response, Israel retaliated with airstrikes over the besieged Gaza Strip and formally declared war at Hamas.

On 10 October, the PJS said in a statement that three Palestinian journalists Said al-Taweel, director of Al-Khamisa news agency; photojournalist Mohammed Sobboh and Hisham Nawajhah, correspondent for a news agency in Gaza, were killed by an Israeli airstrike that hit a residential building near Gaza City's fishing port. The Hamas-run government said that the three reporters were covering the evacuation of a residential building nearby, when the missile struck, AFP reported.

The IFJ is verifying information about three other Palestinian journalists who might have been killed since the beginning of the hostilities on 7 October.  

On 7 October, Palestinian photojournalist Mohammad Al-Salhi, working for news agency Fourth Authority was shot dead while covering the military operations at the border east of Palestinian refugee camp Al-Bureij, located in the central Gaza Strip, according to the state-run news agency WAFA.

On the same day, Ibrahim Lafi from Ain Media news agency was killed while reporting near Beit Hanoun checkpoint, close to the separation fence with Israel, in the northern Gaza Strip, the media reported.

Journalists missing and injured

PJS warned that on 7 October contact was lost with local journalist Nidal Al-Wahidi from Al-Najah TV station and photographer Haitham Abdel Wahed from Ain Media agency. Both professionals were covering the fights close to the separation fence with Israel, near Beit Hanoun checkpoint. The next day, Al-Wahidi’s family informed the media that the journalist had been arrested by the Israeli army. 

On 7 October, in the southern Gaza Strip, correspondent for Al-Ghad TV channel, Ibrahim Qanan, was injured in the leg by a missile strike targeted at Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis city. In a similar incident, PJS reported that journalist Salah Abu Salah was wounded by a missile's shrapnel at Abasan city.

In Gaza city, Israeli shelling injured journalist Saleh Al-Masry and his wife, and destroyed the houses of director of Zaman radio, Rami Al-Sharafi, and journalist Basil Khair Al-Din, working for TV station Al-Quds Today, reads PJS statement.  

The moment an Israeli strike hit Palestine tower in Gaza on 7 October was caught on TV as Al Jazeera reporter Youmna Al-Sayed was conducting a live broadcast. 

Throughout the weekend, Israeli retaliatory airstrikes completely or partially destroyed the headquarters of several media outlets, including the newsroom of Al-Ayyam newspaper, Gaza FM radio studio located in Palestine Tower, and headquarters of Shehab news agency, among others. The offices of Palestinian news agency Ma’an were severely damaged due to the flattening of Al-Watan Tower. 

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “Media workers in areas of armed conflict must be treated and protected as civilians and allowed to perform their work without interference. The IFJ calls on all combatants in this conflict to do their utmost to safeguard journalists and media professionals. There is intense and deeply concerned interest in this conflict all round the world, but people will only be able to understand what is really going on if journalists are allowed to do their work.”

International Transport Workers' Federation 

ITF condemns escalstion of violence in Gaza and Israel, calls for immediate ceasfire and political resolution…

The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) expresses deep alarm at the escalation of violence in Gaza and Israel and condemns the targeting of civilians on both sides by Hamas and Israeli forces.

We urgently call for respect for international law and a commitment from all parties to protect civilian lives, and join the international community in calling for all sides and key countries in the region to de-escalate to avoid further bloodshed.

Even in the face of the illegal occupation and a 16-year blockade of Gaza, there are obligations under international humanitarian law that must be upheld. We condemn the indiscriminate attacks on civilians and taking of civilian hostages by Hamas and other armed groups, which amount to war crimes under international law.

We also condemn the retaliatory attacks from Israeli forces, including the shelling of residential buildings and civilian infrastructure by the Israeli Defence Forces. Israel’s stated intention of imposing a complete siege on Gaza, which involves cutting off electricity and water supplies, amounts to collective punishment; a grave violation of international humanitarian law.

As of the latest reports, the situation is dire. Israel's retaliatory attack on Gaza has resulted in the tragic loss of hundreds of lives and injuries to thousands, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Meanwhile, the death toll from Hamas attacks is now also in the hundreds, and Israel's health ministry has reported thousands of people have been treated in hospitals following attacks by Palestinian armed groups.

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has urgent maximum restraint and has called for “all diplomatic efforts … to avoid a wider conflagration”.

Alongside the ITUC, the ITF calls for all sides, and the international community, to act for peace. The ITF also calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all civilian hostages, in accordance with international law.

“We extend our condolences and solidarity to victims' families as the civilian death toll continues to mount, whilst recognising the historical context and root causes that have contributed to the current crisis – including the 16-year blockade of Gaza and its devastating consequences,” said ITF President Paddy Crumlin. “This prolonged blockade, together with increasing violence and tensions in the occupied West Bank and continued oppression of the Palestinian people, remain the fundamental issue. The only viable path to lasting peace is an end to this illegal occupation and a two-state solution.”

ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton said: “The ITF calls on the international community to take immediate action to de-escalate the situation and prevent further loss of innocent lives. We urge all parties involved to engage in meaningful dialogue and diplomacy to find a peaceful resolution to this long-standing conflict.”

International Trade Union Conferation

ITUC Calls for Peace

The ITUC is gravely concerned at the escalating violence between Israel and Hamas, following the attacks launched against Israel from Gaza, which have drawn strong condemnation from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The ITUC utterly condemns attacks on civilians, with hundreds believed to have been killed already, many more injured and others kidnapped.

This latest outbreak of violence risks spiralling into all-out war, with devastating consequences for Israelis and Palestinians and for the region as well. Extremist rhetoric will only worsen the conflict, costing yet more lives and leaving a peaceful and just solution further out of reach.

The ITUC calls for all sides, and the international community, to act for peace. This decades-long conflict can only be brought to a just outcome through dialogue, respect for international law, in particular human rights law, and the full implementation of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions to bring about a two-state solution.

World Trade Union Federation

WFTU statement on the developments in Palestine…

The whole world is watching with anxiety and concern the new bloodshed that is unfolding in Israel and Palestine and threatens to ignite the entire Middle East region. 

For the WFTU there is no doubt that the root cause of this blood cycle is the ongoing occupation and illegal settlement of the occupied Palestinian territories by Israel and the continuous, daily crimes and the blockades of Gaza that have been committed against the Palestinian people for years. Crimes which are committed with the provocative tolerance and support that Israel receives from the big imperialist powers, that is, the USA, the European Union and the rest of their allies, and which in recent years have become even more brutal and unacceptable. 

The attempt by those who over time turn a blind eye to the crimes and massacres against the Palestinian people and contribute to the maintenance of the occupation and colonization, to present Israel today as a victim of Palestinian aggression, is hypocritical and untruthful to say the least. 

For the WFTU it is clear that the only way to secure and consolidate peace and security for the people in Palestine and Israel, but also in the wider Middle East, is to immediately end the Israeli occupation and settlement in the occupied Arab territories, as provided for in the UN resolutions, and to establish an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital and guarantee the right of return of Palestinian refugees. 

In this direction, the WFTU will continue to fight and express in all ways its solidarity with the suffering but struggling Palestinian people.