Palestine solidarity

Unite has a long history of standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people, who have faced violence, displacement and discrimination at the hands of the Israeli state and settlers for over 100 years. This oppression has been aided, sometimes directed supported, by many western governments, with others remaining silent observers of apartheid and genocide.

As the latest siege on Gaza continues and shows no sign of abating, and members are regularly asking for clarity on our position, we thought it was important to:

Read our posts on Palestine

Our solidarity actions

We support the Time to Divest campaign.

We call on all members to read and sign the open letter to tell Lothian Pension Fund to stop using your pension money to invest in companies complicit in apartheid.

The UK and USA have shamefully suspended funding to the United National Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA), which provides life-saving support in Gaza, we encourage everyone to donate to UNWRA.

Unite’s policy

Unite is a member-led democratic trade union.

Policy is decided every two years at the Policy Conference. The latest Policy Conference was in July 2023 in Brighton.

Policy Conference 2023

Conference notes:

  • the upsurge in oppression, violence and ethnic cleansing with impunity by the Israeli state and settlers against the Palestinians;
  • the potential for further extreme violence and ethnic cleansing with the election of a new Netanyahu government, which contains politicians who believe in a policy of removal of the Palestinians to Jordan, and a shoot to kill policy rather than arrest of those who resist;
  • the important reports by B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the UN Special Rapporteur that were published in 2021 and 2022 that clearly found Israel as practicing the crime of apartheid;
  • the increase in Israel’s targeting of young people with schools being attacked and young people being murdered by the Israeli military and police, including 16 year old Jana Zakarneh and the point blank execution of Ammar Mefleh;
  • the reports of UNICEF, Save the Children and PSC on the systematic detention of Palestinian children and their incarceration in inhumane conditions;
  • the attacks on and criminalisation of 6 human rights organisations;
  • the murder by Israeli military of journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh and the attacks on her funeral;
  • the UK government’s support for the apartheid Israeli state including:
  • Voting against the Palestinian bid for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on Israel’s occupation at the United Nations.
  • Seeking a free trade agreement with Israel
  • Plans to enact anti BDS legislation;
  • the British Labour Party increasingly closing the space for support for Palestine and the refusal of the Labour Party leadership to honour the motion passed in 2021 identifying Israel as practicing the crime of apartheid; the Irish government last year unanimously declared that Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories amount to de facto annexation. the important work of Unite has done in highlighting the situation that faces the Palestinians and leading the movement in advocating for them within Ireland and the UK, and within the global and European federations that Unite affiliates to.

Conference therefore call on Unite to:

  • Identify Israel as practicing the crime of apartheid under international law and speak out publically against this system as well as the illegal occupation and ethnic cleansing;
  • Publically support BDS campaigns against companies complicit in the illegal occupation of Palestine, and support the coalition of organisations against this legislation;
  • Reaffirm and clarify the policy of suspension of any bilateral relations with Histradut given that organisation’s policy on the occupation and support for military actions by the Israeli state, until such time they publically denounce apartheid and occupation;
  • Oppose Ireland and the UK government’s free trade agreement with Israel, and with all countries that abuse human and labour rights and those that invade, occupy and ethnically cleanse;
  • Educate Unite members on Unite’s policy on Palestine, including specific sessions for sectors that have counterparts Palestine, as well as for young members;
  • Ensure that Unite activists take part in delegations to Palestine;
  • To work within the global and European federations to advocate for the Palestinians and ensure these federations become more progressive on Palestine;
  • Continue to affiliate, take an active role in and fully support the work of PSC, IPSC and Labour & Palestine.

Policy Conference 2021

Unite is committed to:

  • Full support for existing policy of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS);
  • Calling on UK government to make clear that it will not follow the
    lead of Trump in moving its Embassy to Jerusalem, and accepting the
    illegal the annexation of the Golan Heights;
  • Opposing any proposed solution for Palestinians, including Trump’s
    ‘deal’, not based on international law and UN resolutions recognising
    the Palestinian’s collective right to self-determination and to return
    to their homes;
  • Supporting the work of Palestine Solidarity Campaign and others in
    campaigning to oppose the proposed law to prohibit public bodies
    from supporting BDS campaigns;
  • Encouraging all regions and branches to affiliate to the Palestine
    Solidarity Campaign;
  • Supporting the work of Labour and Palestine in developing
    progressive Labour Party policy on Palestine;
  • Exerting influence on the international trade union federations to
    which Unite affiliates to build wider and stronger support and
    international solidarity for the Palestinians;
  • Opposing the shrinking and fearful space for debate on Palestine in
    the Labour Party and support PSC activists inside the party who have
    suffered ‘trumped up’ disciplinary action on dubious charges.

Read previous decisions from policy conferences—there has been a motion passed reaffirming Unite’s support of the Palestinian people and Palestine Solidarity Campaign—as well as support of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement—at every conference for the past decade at least.