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25 May 2021

International labour movement takes up Palestinian trade unions’ call for solidarity, calling for an end to Israeli military violence

More than 250 Palestinian civilians have been killed, almost 2000 injured and many displaced since the Israeli military escalated bombardments on besieged Palestinian territory. Residential neighbourhoods, office buildings housing media outlets and critical infrastructure have been seriously damaged or destroyed. The Palestinian trade union movement embarked on a historic general strike on 18 May 2021 and issued a call to action to the international labour movement. Trade unions and workers around the world have expressed their solidarity with the Palestinian people.

A coalition of UK trade unions and civil society organisations has called on the government to denounce the violence. A group of activists occupied the rooftop of a Leicester-based Israeli-owned facility producing parts for military drones. The Leicestershire Fire Brigades Union, whose members had been called to the scene, refused to remove them, stating that ‘the Fire Brigades Union stands in support of Palestinian solidarity and the right to protest.’

Italian dock workers refused to load a shipment of arms bound for Israel. Their union L’Unione Sindacale di Base issued a statement saying: "The port of Livorno will not be an accomplice in the massacre of the Palestinian people." South African dock workers represented by the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union refused to offload an Israeli-owned ship, highlighting the parallels with the former system of apartheid in their own country.