Why Unite is supporting protests against the Israeli war on Palestine



Resolution on Palestine adopted by Unite Union


Over 170 Palestinian political parties, unions and other organisations including the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions issued a call in July 2005 for a global campaign of boycotts and divestment against Israel similar to those imposed against South African Apartheid.

Unite Union will work to:

Demand the Israeli Government immediately withdraw from the occupied territories and abide by UN resolution 242 which requires Israel to withdraw to 1967 borders.

  1. Support the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel until it meets its obligation to recognise the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self- determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
  2. Call for the end of suicide bombings, military assaults and other acts of violence that take the lives of innocent people and demand that the Israeli–West Bank barrier – the apartheid wall – be immediately torn down.
  3. Develop an education campaign about the apartheid nature of the Israel state for Unite Union members and work with the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions to take this campaign to all New Zealand workers.
  4. Propose this resolution to the Council of Trade Unions for adoption as official CTU policy.
  5. Call on the New Zealand government to increase humanitarian aid to Palestinians that have been affected by the ongoing conflict.

Unite Union is taking these steps because of the appeal to support Palestinian workers and because:

  • No lasting peace can be created unless there is implementation of international law, United Nations resolutions and respect for the human rights of both Palestinians and Israeli citizens.
  • 42 years ago, the United Nations Security Council unanimously called for Israel to withdraw from territories it invaded in 1967 (West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem) in resolution 242.
  • Israel has refused to implement resolution 242 for 42 years and, moreover, has illegally established Jewish-only settlements in these areas in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
  • The Israeli Apartheid Wall has been condemned and determined illegal under international law.
  • The apartheid barrier severely restricts the movement of and work possibilities for Palestinians, violates international law, is partially built on land confiscated from Palestinians and is not a way to create lasting peace and security.


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  1. Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is a demand by the Palestinian people, and the Palestinian unions in particular. An appeal was issued in July 2005 by Palestinian civil society. More than 170 bodies, including trade unions, political and social organisations, and womens’ and youth groups. Its signatories represented all three components of the Palestinian nation: refugees, those living under occupation and Palestinian citizens of Israel. It has support from Jewish Israeli advocates of genuine peace. They demand that Israel: 1. End its occupation of all Arab lands, dismantling the Wall and freeing all Palestinian and Arab political prisoners; 2. Recognise the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; 3. Respect, protect and promote the rights of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN General Assembly resolution 194.
  2. In 2004 the International court of Justice (ICJ) declared illegal the “Separation Wall” and settlement-colonies Israel is building on Palestinian occupied land. The ICJ also ruled that Palestinian whose lives have been damaged must be compensated and that all nations have an “obligation to ensure Israel complies with international law.”
  3. In September 2009 UK Unions supported the initiation of a mass boycott movement , divestment and sanctions. Similar calls have been issued by union federations in South Africa, Norway, Ireland and Scotland.
  4. In the midst of the assault on Gaza in 2008, 500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists and scholars, sent a letter to foreign ambassadors stationed in Israel. It called for “the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions” and draws a clear parallel with the anti-apartheid struggle. “the boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves… This international backing must stop.”
  5. The “Apartheid” comparison is legitimate as the consequences of an occupation that has lasted over 40 years that has seen two generations of Palestinians grow up in the occupied territories effectively denied rights of citizenship. Any rights associated with the territory nominally under Palestinian control is effectively circumscribed in much the same way the Bantustans were in South Africa. The comparison has been made by former US President Jimmy Carter, the Israeli Human Rights group B’Tselem, and Bishop Tutu of South Africa. The editorial board of Israel’s leading newspaper Ha’aretz observed in September 2006 that “the apartheid regime in the territories remains intact: millions of Palestinians are living without rights, freedom of movement or a livelihood, under the yoke of ongoing Israeli occupation.” Chris Hedges, Foreign Correspondent of the New York Times wrote in December 2006: “Palestinians in Gaza live in encased and squalid, overcrowded ghetto, surrounded by the Israeli military and a massive electric fence, unable to leave or enter the strip and under daily assault…This is more than apartheid.”
  6. A campaign around BDS of Israel has a power in NZ precisely because of its association with similar, successful campaigns against South African apartheid.
  7. The rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel are increasingly circumscribed as the Israeli state insists on its “Jewish” character to the exclusion of the Palestinians. This affects access to health, education, water , housing and land. Acceptance of the Jewish character of the state is now a precondition of the renewed peace talks’ farce.
  8. Israel now has 300,000 settlers in 200 plus settlements on the West bank plus at least 180,000 more settlers in East Jerusalem. Some are twice the size of Manhattan with their own schools, universities, shopping malls and billions of dollars invested in infrastructure and a segregated, for-Jews-only highway system, 300 kilometres long, cutting up the West Bank with Palestinians imprisoned between these concrete and asphalt barriers.
  9. For the two-state solution to remain valid – there must be an unconditional withdrawal to the 1967 borders with no conditions. The settlements must be dismantled. 
  10. Failure you do so will increasingly raise the other legitimate alternative future – a unitary, democratic and secular state over the whole territory with equal rights for all its citizens.
  11. The existing state of Israel justifies its continuing war and occupation of Palestine on the basis that some people in these territories and abroad won’t recognise the state of Israel. This is simply another version of the Big Lie. Every faction in Palestine recognizes the “fact” of Israel in its pre-1967 border (including Hamas). 
  12.  Israel itself, however, will not recognise its own borders. There is no Israeli map with the 1967 border delimited. East Jerusalem has been annexed. The Apartheid Wall follows no border. All Israel political leaders refer to the West Bank as “Judea and Samaria”. The continuing existence of the settlements is declared to be non-negotiable. There is no acceptance of Palestinian refugees right of return (a condition for UN recognition of Israel in 1948). There is no “recognition” of the Palestinian right to even establish a state let alone what borders it may have. Now Israeli leaders insist that not just the “State of Israel” that must be recognised but the “Jewish” character of that state – i.e. the eternal dispossession of the Palestinian refugees and second class status of Palestinian citizens.

Protest Israel’s latest massacre – 2pm this Saturday Aotea Square


  1. Mike. Have you taken a poll of your members to see if they support their levies being used to support terrorists in the middle east?

    • We took a vote at our 2012 National Conference of 150 elected delegates from around NZ. If I remember rightly the vote was unanimous or damn near it.

    • What a stupid question, intrinsiclackofvalue. Unite isn’t supporting the Netanyahu regime. Besides that, please do not pretend to be concerned for Unite members. It is just not in character.

  2. It’s great to see Unite Union making a stand in support of the Palestinians. We should all be boycotting Israeli goods and produce and calling for divestment. Israel needs to understand that the international community will not tolerate their illegal occupation of Palestinian land and their callous treatment of the Palestinian people.

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