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ITF demonstrates solidarity with Palestinian workers and unions after mission

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The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has pledged an additional £50,000 to its Palestine Solidarity Fund to mobilise resources to support workers, trade unions and humanitarian organisations on the ground in Palestine.

At the Council of Global Unions’ meeting in Geneva, ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton underscored the Federation’s steadfast support for Palestinian transport workers, emphasising that its commitment extends beyond mere financial assistance.

Our unwavering commitment to Palestinian workers extends far beyond just a financial gesture of solidarity. We stand firm in our resolve to support Palestinian workers and our affiliated unions until peace and dignity are restored through self-determination and the establishment of a Palestinian state."

The commitment was solidified during the ITF leadership's visit to Ramallah in the West Bank alongside other global union federations, where ITF President Paddy Crumlin reiterated the solidarity of the world’s transport workers with Palestinian counterparts.

“We bring resolute solidarity from the 18 million transport workers the ITF represents and a commitment to work with Palestinian unions in their tireless efforts to support their communities in the face on unimaginable suffering and violence,” said Crumlin. “We are here in Ramallah to stand by this commitment.”

The ITF leaders met with Palestinian trade union leaders during the mission, hearing about the dire realities faced by Palestinian workers in Gaza as well as in the West Bank amidst severe restrictions from occupation forces and increasing settler violence. The delegation also met with the new Palestinian cabinet, including President Mahmoud Abbas, Deputy Prime Minister Samah Abou Oun, Minister of Labour Enas Dahadha, and Minister of Telecommunications and Digital Economy Abdel Razzaq Natsheh.

Expressing deep concern over the ongoing bloodshed in Gaza, Crumlin condemned the indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians sheltering in refugee camps, hospitals and schools and reiterated the call for an immediate ceasefire. He also urged Israel to comply with the International Court of Justice’s orders for an immediate end to the Rafah offensive and demanded unrestricted humanitarian access to Gaza.

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with Palestinians, Israelis and people around the world condemning these horrific acts and demanding an immediate ceasefire. For lasting peace, we need a rapid de-escalation including the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages and others held without due judicial process," said Crumlin.

ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton echoed these sentiments, stating: “The international community cannot remain silent while such atrocities and flagrant violations of international law continue.”

Cotton called on Israel to halt its offensive, open border crossings for urgently needed humanitarian aid, and lift all economic restrictions, including on workers’ funds, that are causing widespread economic starvation across the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

In alignment with the International Court of Justice’s recent orders in the case filed by South Africa against Israel regarding the application of the Genocide Convention, the ITF urged Israel to immediately halt its military offensive on Rafah, open the Rafah crossing to ensure unhindered access to humanitarian assistance, and to allow unimpeded access to UN-sanctioned investigators.

The ITF also echoed an earlier call from global unions for all States to bolster trust in the international legal order and support international legal institutions including for all States Parties to the Genocide Convention to fulfil their common obligation to prevent genocide, including reviewing funding for arms and Israel's military activities.

Cotton also urged trade unions globally to reaffirm their support the independence and impartiality of the International Criminal Court, particularly in light of recent attacks by some government officials.

“Prosecutorial and judicial independence is one of the key components of the rule of law,” Cotton asserted. “The work of the ICC and its Prosecutor to investigate documented war crimes by the Israeli Government and Hamas should not be hindered in any way. States must cooperate with the ICC and fulfil their responsibility to prevent and end international crimes.”

Crumlin reiterated the ITF's unwavering commitment to a peaceful resolution, stating: 

We will continue to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and all those who yearn for peace. We call upon all parties to prioritise diplomacy and dialogue, to choose the path of peace over violence, and to recognise the State of Palestine and work towards a future where Palestinians and Israelis alike can live in safety, security, and dignity."

The ITF also reiterates earlier calls for: 

  • World leaders to prioritise diplomacy and dialogue over violence to secure the release of all hostages and work towards an immediate and lasting ceasefire that guarantees the safety and security of all Palestinians and Israelis.
  • The international community to take immediate and decisive action to protect civilians, ensure accountability for violations of international law, and work towards a just and lasting peace based on the full implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.
  • Governments to condemn attacks on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and urgently renew and strengthen its funding.
  • The global labour movement, under the leadership of the global unions, to consider and pursue all possible options to target and pressure companies, employers and investors that are involved in, or that facilitate the expansion and continuation of, illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

Photo Credit: REUTERS

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