ITUC OnLine – January 05, 2009

Brussels, 5 January 2008 (ITUC OnLine):  With the death and injury toll in the conflict between Israel and Hamas continuing to rise, the ITUC again calls for an immediate cease-fire and a major aid effort to bring much-needed assistance to the people of Gaza.  More than 500 people, including some 100 civilians, are believed to have been killed in Gaza since Israel’s escalating military reaction to Hamas missile attacks began 10 days ago.  Around 2,500 Gazans have been wounded, and at least four Israelis have been killed and several injured by the rocket attacks.  In a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the ITUC has called on the UN to “exercise its authority to bring about an immediate cease-fire and open the way for renewed impetus to the peace process”.  

Despite news that an aid convoy and fuel for electricity generation and cooking have now been allowed into Gaza, the humanitarian situation is extremely serious and can only be properly alleviated when a cease-fire is in place.

“The international community must immediately apply the necessary pressure to stop the fighting and move urgently to deal with the humanitarian crisis.  Ultimately, dialogue and negotiation are the only way this conflict can be solved, but that is unlikely to happen unless and until those countries which can influence events bring that influence to bear,” said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder.  “A just and equitable solution, based on international law and with two sovereign states co-existing in conditions of peace, is the outcome which all but the most extreme interests want to see.  The current round of conflict puts this yet further out of reach.  Whatever the provocations, the time for both sides to cease fire is now,” he added.

The ITUC, working with its affiliates in Palestine (PGFTU) and Jordan (GFJTU) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and other Global Union Federations, is launching an appeal for humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza, focusing on urgently-needed food and medical relief. 

Organisations wishing to contribute to the appeal should send an email marked “Gaza Appeal” to: