Updated TUC Statement on Israel and Palestine

18 October 2023

The TUC is deeply concerned by the escalating violence and unfolding humanitarian crisis in Gaza and Israel. We support the UN call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Middle East and strongly urge the international community to make all efforts to ensure that international law is upheld and all civilians are protected.

The TUC has unequivocally condemned the brutal attacks and murder of Israeli civilians by Hamas. We call for the immediate, unconditional release of all hostages unharmed.

Neither the killing of Israeli civilians by Hamas nor the collective punishment of the people of Gaza by the Israeli government will do anything to end the occupation or bring about peace.

The TUC sends our solidarity to all Israelis and Palestinians who have been affected by this appalling violence and our condolences to those who have lost family and friends. We are alarmed by the escalation in antisemitism and anti-Muslim racism and oppose those who are using these events to stir up division in the UK. The TUC stands in solidarity with all working people, their friends, families and communities and opposes any attempt to divide us.

The current siege of Gaza, which comes on top of a 16-year air, sea and land blockade, has cut off food, water, electricity and fuel supplies. This is leading to a humanitarian disaster. The UN has stated that such measures amount to a form of collective punishment which is prohibited under the Fourth Geneva Convention. We call on the UK government and international community to support the opening of humanitarian corridors and to facilitate access to humanitarian aid and stand in solidarity with emergency and humanitarian workers.

The health system in Gaza has been described as at “breaking point” by the World Health Organisation. Hospitals are rationing electricity and there is an acute shortage of medical supplies. People across Gaza already have severely limited access to clean drinking water. Gazans who work in Israel have been prevented from returning home and some have been transferred to the West Bank, after being physically assaulted and their personal belongings confiscated.

The TUC is appalled by the destruction of Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, which killed hundreds of patients, healthcare workers and families that had been seeking refuge in and around the hospital.

We support a road to a just peace in Israel and Palestine. UN Secretary General, António Guterres, has acknowledged that, “This most recent violence does not come in a vacuum. The reality is that it grows out of a long-standing conflict, with a 56-year long occupation and no political end in sight.”

The TUC has long-standing democratically agreed policy in relation to Palestine and Israel. We have long called for an end to the military occupation of Palestinian territory and the blockade of Gaza, and respect for all Palestinian rights including the right to self-determination and the right to return.

The TUC urges the UK government and parliamentarians across the political spectrum and in all four nations to support genuine efforts towards a just, comprehensive and lasting peace that is consistent with international law, including ending settlement expansion, and is based on a two-state solution, which promotes equality, democracy and respect for human and labour rights. And we will continue to work closely with, and through, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to support efforts to secure this lasting peace.

Read on the TUC website