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The Role of the International Trade Union Movement in Strengthening the Struggle of the Palestinian People

The trade unionists who have read the recent article – an appeal by the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions – Gaza Strip entitled “On International Workers Day”, would agree with me that the colleagues are absolutely right in many of the statements they make:

Indeed, while all over the world on the 1st of May, workers will either be celebrating their rights or demonstrating for more, our colleagues in Palestine will be “busy burying dozens of bodies murdered every day in the genocide being carried out by Israel”.

Indeed, a number of trade unions, affiliated and led by the ITUC, not only in the United States of America, but all over the world, ought to offer much more in the cause of support and solidarity with the struggling Palestinian people.

Indeed, a part of the international trade union movement, subordinated to the instructions and interests of the imperialists, has lost its voice and remains silent in the face of the crime that is being committed, maintaining the unacceptable position of equal-distance and equating the victim with the perpetrator.

However, it is useful to note an important point: The above findings do not concern the entire international trade union movement, but only a part of it.

Representing more than 105 million workers around the world, from the first moment, the WFTU has remained firm to its principled positions. It showed that the root cause of the tragic events of October 2023, 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 USA, the European Union and the rest of their allies. That the only way to secure and consolidate peace and security for the people in Palestine, 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.

For the World Federation of Trade Unions and the international class-oriented trade union movement, the cause of the Palestinian people has always been a priority in the development of actions for practical support and solidarity.

During the last months, 3 international campaigns have already been launched and implemented, with a call for mass mobilizations of workers in streets and workplaces all over the world, with the main demands being the end of the bloodshed and the non-participation of their respective countries in the genocide. Millions of workers in dozens of countries, under the banner of the WFTU, and despite the persecution and repression they have endured in many cases, have repeatedly taken to the streets and squares demanding “Freedom for Palestine”. The 4th in a row solidarity campaign has been launched by the WFTU and is currently running, on the occasion of the Palestinian Land Day, and is, among other things, calling for a boycott of the murderous state of Israel and its interests.

In every International Organization, where the WFTU was given a platform for expression (e.g. ILO and UN), the representatives of our Federation in their official statements have appealed for solidarity, while officially condemning the hypocrisy of the imperialists.

Special sessions of solidarity with the Palestinian people, with the participation of Palestinian trade unionists, have been held in the framework of the annual session of the WFTU Presidential Council, at the world congresses of the WFTU sectoral Trade Unions Internationals held in previous months, as well as at the WFTU Women’s World Congress.

With all available means of expression, the media of the WFTU, attempt daily and continuously to strengthen public awareness and mobilization, but also to pressure states and organizations to turn towards the practical and decisive demand for an end to the war.

Trade union organizations in Europe and elsewhere, affiliates of our Federation, have tried with strikes and mobilizations to prevent the shipment of military munitions for the support of the murderous state of Israel.

An official visit of the General Secretary and a delegation of the WFTU to the Middle East took place in November 2023, during which meetings and solidarity events were held with the participation of Palestinian militants in Syria and Lebanon. Now, a solidarity visit of a delegation of the WFTU delegation to Palestine is being planned, with the aim of strengthening the support of the international class-oriented trade union movement with the struggling people.

Therefore, it is not the international trade union movement that is silent and deaf in the face of genocide, but only a part of it.

On the one side there are those who, representing the interests of the imperialists, actively or silently support the genocide committed by Israel, and on the other side there is the international class-oriented trade union movement, which not only now in the struggle of the Palestinian people, but also in every previous case, has actively stood in every way on the side of all peoples struggling for survival and liberation.

The World Federation of Trade Unions will continue to struggle alongside Palestine. It will continue to fight for the strengthening and the enrichment of the role of the international trade union movement in the struggle of the Palestinian people. It is deeply rooted in the way the class-oriented trade union movement functions and acts that internationalist solidarity is the most powerful weapon of the peoples. Until the final victory, in Palestine and throughout the world.

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