The decision by the Trump administration to cut $300 million from the aid budget to the United Nations Works and Relief Agency (UNWRA) responsible for 5.4 million Palestinian refugees, was condemned by PCS at TUC Congress today (12).
Emergency motion 4 said it would result in threats to the education of more than 526,000 Palestinian children and the jobs of 22,000 teachers.
PCS delegate Steve Swainston spoke in support of the motion and said that the withdrawal of funding risked an “enormous humanitarian disaster”.
“Support for the oppressed is a fundamental principle of trade unions and we must support oppressed people no matter who they are,” he said.
The motion called on the TUC General Council to make representations to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to significantly increase the British contribution to UNWRA to avoid this humanitarian disaster.
The motion also condemned the Israeli government’s new national state law, which institutionally discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel. It highlighted the opposition expressed by a wide range of Israeli citizens, including Palestinians, to this law which institutionally discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel.
The passing of the law has led to demonstrations in Tel Aviv called by groups asserting that “we are all equal citizens – Arabs and Jews, women and men, Mizrahim, Ethiopians, those of us from the former USSR and members of the LGBTQ community”.
Steve Swainston added: “We must resist any attempts to silence criticism of the Israeli government and insist they’re held to account as we would with any government, including our own.”
The motion expressed its solidarity with all those seeking to oppose this law and called on the TUC General Council to make representations to the UK government and to the Israeli authorities.
Mick Whelan from Aslef moved the motion and said the nation state law further undermines future peace in Israel.
Claire Lees from Unite seconded the motion and said the new Israeli nation state law had “echoes of apartheid era South Africa”.
“We reserve the right to condemn such actions,” she said.
The motion was carried unanimously.