CUPE 4600 stands in solidarity with Palestine

Since October 7th, 2023 the Israeli military has murdered over 26,000 Palestinian civilians, including over 10,000 children as recorded by Al Jazeera, and the death toll continues to rise daily. CUPE 4600 stands firmly in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their ongoing struggle for liberation. We reject any conflation of the support for Palestinian life with the condoning of violence against civilians or antisemitism.

Israel’s drastic escalation of genocidal violence towards Palestinians in Gaza includes: the shutting off of water, electricity and telecommunications; the bombing of civilian infrastructure including residences, hospitals, schools, mosques, churches, and refugee camps; and numerous war crimes such as collective punishment, the use of white phosphorus munitions and the indiscriminate murder of unarmed civilians and journalists. The continuation of the illegal blockade and frequent attacks on Gazans must cease immediately and permanently. A temporary truce or “humanitarian pause” is unequivocally insufficient.

CUPE 4600 recognizes the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory as “unlawful under international law,” as determined in the October 2022 report by the United Nations General Assembly. Israel’s illegal settlements and the forcible displacement and transfer of Palestinians continue to violate international law as indicated in Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

We recognize that the events of October 7th are a retaliatory escalation against the current and long history of settler-colonial systemic violence and oppression in historic Palestine against the Palestinian people. Israel has imposed a brutal blockade on the Gaza Strip since 2007, cutting the Palestinian people from the rest of the world and forcing them to live in an open-air prison. CUPE 4600 understands that in order to cease the continuous and tragic loss of life, the root cause of violent Israeli settler-colonialism must be addressed. We recognize that decolonization is not a metaphor and must be enacted through the repatriation of Indigenous land and life (Tuck & Yang 2012). Humanitarian justice requires the liberation of Palestine as well as an international commitment to ensuring Palestinians are granted the human rights they have been denied for over 75 years.

With this historical context, CUPE 4600 joins the growing global consensus that recognizes Israel as actively committing the international war crimes of apartheid and genocide. While Palestinians and international solidarity activists have understood that the state of Israel has been continuously committing the crime of apartheid for many decades, organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem have more recently adopted the term to describe the system of racial segregation that Israel imposes on the Palestinian people.

The workers’ struggle and the struggle for liberation are inseparable. Like all peoples of the world, Palestinians have fundamental rights to freedom, justice, and equality. As trade unionists, we are compelled to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for liberation, just as unions and workers did in the struggle for liberation from apartheid in South Africa.

CUPE 4600 presents this statement as a union on unceded and un-surrendered Anishinaabe Algonquin Territory. We recognize that the genocide of Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island and in historic Palestine is inextricable. Canada is complicit in both as a colonial power embedded in the histories and development of settler-colonialism and as a current source of financial, political, and material support for Israel’s crimes.

We issue this statement of solidarity as voted on during our November 17th General Membership Meeting.

CUPE 4600 calls on the Canadian government to stand up for the inalienable human rights of the Palestinian people by calling for:

  1. An immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem: Canada must join the growing international call for an immediate ceasefire in the region and demonstrate unwavering commitment to peace and protection of life.
  2. The end of the siege on Gaza to allow unrestricted humanitarian aid and permanently lift the blockade as it is a contravention of international law.
  3. An end to Canada’s complicity in Israeli occupation and genocide, including an end to arms sales to Israel directly and through the United States.
  4. Freeing Palestine by opposing Israeli apartheid and taking immediate action to recognize the rights that Palestinian people have to their ancestral lands.