The Crisis in Gaza: Statement of the UE General Officers

July 29, 2014

Delegates to UE’s 73rd National Convention in August 2013 reaffirmed UE’s longstanding concern about the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, and reiterated our union’s view that the U.S. government policy in this conflict has made matters worse. On the basis of our union’s principles and policies, we urgently call for an end to the bloodbath that is now occurring in Gaza.

In the resolution “For Peace, Jobs and a Pro-Worker Foreign Policy,” last year’s UE convention said in part:

“U.S. policy is outrageously one-sided towards Israel, perpetuates injustice and conflict, and risks further war in the Middle East. The $3 billion in annual U.S. aid to Israel (by far the richest country receiving U.S. aid) far exceeds aid given to any other country. U.S. policy allows the continued Israeli occupation of Palestine, including the construction of illegal settlements, an apartheid wall through the West Bank, and the continued military blockade of Gaza.”

The resolution went on to call for “An end to all U.S. military aid to Israel; An end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine; An end to the blockade of Gaza; The cessation of building, and the removal of all Israeli settlements from Palestinian territory; The recognition of Palestine as a state with the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

As we write these words, more than 1,100 Palestinians have died in the current siege of Gaza. The UN estimates that more than 70 percent of those were civilians, and more than 200 children. Deaths of Israeli soldiers have been 53, and three Israeli civilians have died. There is overwhelming evidence that Israel has bombed hospitals, schools, ambulances and targeted civilians, including journalists. Such tactics constitute war crimes. Yet when the UN Human Rights Council voted on July 23 to launch an international inquiry into war crimes that may have been committed during Israel's latest military offensive in Gaza, the U.S. government cast the only “no” vote, opposing even an investigation of human rights violations. Such a policy of covering up for Israel is a disgrace and embarrassment to the people of our country.

We support an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, including withdrawal of all Israeli troops and lifting of the economic blockade of Gaza. We also demand a fundamental shift in U.S. foreign policy on the Israel/Palestine conflict. Our government must cease to be an apologist and enabler for Israel, and instead work in good faith for a just resolution of this 66-year old conflict.

Bruce J. Klipple, General President

Andrew C. Dinkelaker, General Secretary-Treasurer

Robert B. Kingsley, Director of Organization