To the Australian Council of Trade Unions,
I am writing this to you in your capacity as the peak body of trade unions in Australia.
The Australian trade union movment has a proud history of opposing oppression in Australia and around the world. It joined the boycott of apartheid South Africa. It supported independence for East Timor. It supported Indonesia's struggle to break free of the Dutch.
Here in Australia the trade union movement has been a strong supporter of the Aboriginal struggle for justice.
The Israeli massacre of 19 unarmed civilians on the freedom flotilla to Gaza brings to the fore the Israeli occupation of Palestine and its brutal treatment of the Palestinian people. The blockade means that Palestinians cannot rebuild their homes, schools, hospitals or mosques. It condemns 65 per cent of Gazan children to anaemia, and 61 per cent of Gazans to food insecurity. Seventy-five per cent are dependent on food aid to live.
The International Trade Union Confederation has condemned “the killing of as many as 19 persons in a boat convoy headed for Gaza today, and the wounding of many more, as an outrage”.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) “reacted with shock at the news of the brutal attacks on civilians, including journalists, by Israeli forces in the assault on a flotilla that yesterday tried to breach the military blockade of the Gaza coastline in Palestine”.
"We join the European Union in demanding a full inquiry which must be independent in order to be credible. We condemn any attempt at the blackout and censorship of news by the Israeli authorities which is hindering journalists from giving an accurate account of what is happening," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President.
The International Transport Workers' Union (ITF), representing professional seafarers worldwide, was “shocked and appalled by Israeli forces’ attack on the lead ship of a humanitarian aid convoy, the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmaris”.
The ITF denounced “Israel’s blockade of Gaza and calls on the international community to support a political solution in which a viable Palestinian state can play a full part in international trade and commerce, which would include the full restoration of transport links”.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions was “outraged at the murder by Israeli commandos of at least twenty people - and injuries to a further 60 - as a result of their armed attack on a convoy of ships carrying aid to the people of Gaza”.
COSATU played the key role in the overthrow of apartheid. It went on to say:
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