The ACTU joins the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in calling for an immediate cessation of violence in Israel and Palestine, and the unjust and illegal occupation of Palestine.

The ACTU condemns the escalation of violence, with at least 192 people having been killed in Gaza in the past week, including 58 children, and at least 10 in Israel, including 2 children, and mourns the loss of Palestinian and Israeli lives. The ACTU condemns the Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza strip, including the targeting of media offices by the Israeli authorities; the Hamas rockets; the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and the excessive use of force by Israeli authorities against Palestinian protesters.

These attacks came after days of violence, in particular in Jerusalem, where hundreds of Palestinians were injured in demonstrations against forced evictions of Palestinian families by Israeli authorities. 970 people, including 424 children, in occupied East Jerusalem are at risk of displacement. The planned evictions, if implemented, constitute a gross violation of Israel’s obligations under international law. The ACTU denounces the forced evictions and calls for the removal of illegal settlements.

The ACTU also condemns the repeated harassment of Palestinian trade unionists by Israeli occupation forces. On 8 May, the Secretary of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), Dr. Ashraf Al-A’war, was arrested by Israeli security forces while he was on his way to PGFTU headquarters. He was reportedly questioned for his trade union activities and, while being released on a bail, he is now prevented from attending any political or trade union activity for one month.

It is time for the Australian Government and the international community to take firm action to stop the escalation of violence – the ACTU calls for an end to the occupation of Palestine and a just and sustainable peace in accordance with resolutions 242 and 338 of the UN Security Council, with the removal of illegal settlements, the withdrawal of Israel from all Palestinian lands along with the dismantling of the separation wall. In line with the ACTU’s commitment to a two-state solution with the security of borders for both nations, we call on all countries to recognise, without delay, Palestine as a sovereign state with East Jerusalem as its capital. This will confirm the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination in a free and independent Palestine.

We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian families facing eviction and all the Palestinian and Israeli victims of violence in the past week.