Organise to end apartheid in Palestine
In Nov 2011, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine,
created by a large group of citizens involved in the
promotion of peace and justice in the Middle East, found
that Israel subjects the Palestinian people to an institutionalised
regime of domination, amounting to apartheid as defined
by international law.
Now UNISON has agreed a response equivalent
to the scale of our response on South Africa. Conference
our union to make members aware of this apartheid and
to get their active support to begin to right this longstanding
UNISON will also use its organised strength
to stop pension funds from investing in Apartheid and
to ensure public
sector contracts do not go to firms helping the occupation.
her maiden speech, young member, Sarah Collins of East
Ayrshire Branch told Conference that even as we
celebrate the beginning of the end of apartheid in South
Africa, there is evidence of growing apartheid in Palestine.
"Palestine is still encircled by unlawful
occupation, the apartheid wall divides communities from
and work and splits families apart" said Sarah.
She welcomed UNISON's policy of boycott,
divestment and sanctions (BDS) and slammed the Israeli
groups and organisations which criticise government policy
with the enactment of the Boycott Law, "the latest
in a series of violations of international law which
have occurred since the foundation of the State of Israel".
also deplored the imprisonment in Israel of five British
Women for their part in the Welcome to Palestine
initiative to highlight the Israeli blockade of the West
Bank; and paid tribute to the Palestinian detainees who
have been on hunger strike to demand basic rights to
family visits and education, an end to isolation and
an end to administrative detention.
She pointed to the
top European athletes who have joined growing international
calls on Israel to end its abuse
of human rights.
"Conference, it's up to us to continue our BDS strategy
just as we did against apartheid in South Africa," said
Sarah, "Whatever the challenges we face at home,
we cannot forget our international responsibilities."