BURNABY—CUPE BC strongly condemns the Israeli bombardment and attacks on the defenseless people of Gaza. The targeting of schools, universities and medical centers, and the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians, is totally unacceptable and must stop immediately.
Gaza is a territory which is about the same size as the City of Surrey but, unlike the City of Surrey, is occupied territory whose borders are controlled entirely by Israel. One and a half million Palestinians are imprisoned in this territory surrounded by barbed wire and the sea. There is no exit. For the past two years, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) blockaded the Gaza Strip, letting in just enough supplies to prevent starvation, but that is about it. There is no economy, no hope, and no real life in Gaza. The Israeli blockade is a flagrant violation of international law.
The Palestinians resist this blockade by throwing up rockets which land indiscriminately in Israeli territory. The firing of such rockets by Hamas is also contrary to international law, and is condemned, because citizens of Israel are affected. Over the past seven years, 14 Israelis have been killed by rockets fired from Gaza. During the same period, Israel has killed more than 5,000 Palestinians using some of the most advanced American-supplied arms in the world. While no rockets are fired from the West Bank, another Palestinian territory occupied by Israel, 45 Palestinians have died there under Israel’s hand this year alone. The issue is not just the vast disparity in weapons and power, but that Israel is the occupier, the Palestinian people are the occupied.
It is the illegal Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories which is the primary cause of the current situation in Gaza.
CUPE BC calls on the Canadian government and the international community to do everything possible to put an end to this massacre. There must be an immediate ceasefire and an end to the blockade of Gaza by Israel.
- Hamas’s rockets cannot justify Israeli violations of international law, as CUPE National president Paul Moist points out in his letter to Stephen Harper on January 2nd, 2009.
- According to the Israeli peace movement, December’s breakdown of the six-month truce was caused by Israeli’s assassination of six Hamas members in Gaza on November 5, 2008 and the Israeli refusal to lift its siege of Gaza as expected under a deal brokered by Egypt. The Israeli peace movement says the democratic election of Hamas in 2006 was never accepted by the Israeli and American governments, and that this attack is an attempt to overturn the election. Regardless of our views, and the views of other countries, it is the government chosen by the people of Palestine. CUPE BC encourages its members to access the website of Gush Shalom, the Israeli peace movement.
- CUPE BC’s International Solidarity committee published The Wall Must Fall, an educational resource on conflict in Israel / Palestine.
- For a vivid video description of the current medical and humanitarian crisis in Gaza, watch and listen to Norwegian Doctor Erik Fosse speaking at the al-Shifa hospital.
CUPE BC has always believed that our work to define the issues as best we can, with tools such as The Wall Must Fall, would contribute to a climate of dialogue that could help to resolve the conflict. However, the current crisis has come to a point that only international intervention will have any impact. The loss of life, be it Israeli or Palestinian, is a crisis that must be addressed.