6 March 2008
The Congress of South African Trade Unions is appalled at the destruction of the headquarters of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) in Gaza, by two one-ton Israeli F-16 missiles.
One person is dead, 37 are injured, mostly women and children, some of them in critical condition in hospital, and there has been considerable damage to the structure of surrounding houses. The consequences of the bombing will extend to thousands of workers and their families who used the health insurance service offices housed in the offices.
We send revolutionary greetings to the union members who are still at work in a tent, as they try to retrieve what they can from under the rubble.
The Union, launched in 1965, has a proud record of involvement in the liberation struggle. It has been calling for an international boycott of Israel, and imposition of sanctions until Israel meets its obligations over UN resolutions, borders, and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland. COSATU totally supports these demands.
Nabil al-Mabhouh, acting head of the PGFTU in Gaza, reckons the building had apparently been targeted because “we at PGFTU are supporting the rights of tens of thousands of Palestinian workers. . . Targeting a civil organization shows how barbaric and outrageous the Israeli occupation is. . . We are not launching rockets; targeting a labourers’ union building is not justified.”
COSATU echoes the PGFTU statement, which “strongly condemns this crime which aims to break down the Palestinian labourers, and call for all trade unions in the world to stand by us and protect the Palestinian labourers from such criminal practices.”
COSATU reaffirms, with even greater force in the light of this atrocity, its 2006 National Congress resolution which pledged solidarity and support to the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom, and demanded that:
- Our government should impose sanctions against Israel until the aggression on Palestine and Lebanon is stopped.
- We should step up the campaign for the release of Palestinian prisoners.
- COSATU members must boycott Israeli goods and demonstrations must be held at the embassies of Israel and the United States in South Africa.
- The government must end with immediate affect the diplomatic ties with Israel including recalling the ambassador.
We call on the workers of the world to join us in protesting at this deadly attack on our fellow trade unionists. An injury to one is an injury to all!
For more information, contact: Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson), Congress of South African Trade Unions, 1-5 Leyds Cnr Biccard Streets, Braamfontein, 2017, P.O. Box 1019, Johannesburg, 2000, SOUTH AFRICA. Tel: +27 11 339-4911/24; Fax: +27 11 339-5080/6940/ 086 603 9667; Cell: 0828217456; E-Mail: <email@example.com>.