Who wouldn’t want peace in the Middle East?

This year at AGM in Eastbourne, members will have the opportunity to decide whether or not this trade union should affiliate to Trade Union Friends of Israel (TUFI).

What is TUFI?

TUFI was established to strengthen and support the links between the Histadrut (the Israeli TUC), the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) and the British Trade Union Movement. The Histadrut maintains a good relationship with the PGFTU as well as labour movements in other countries. It is affiliated to the International Confederation of Trade Unions (ICTU).

TUFI supports a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine that delivers peace, economic progress, security and justice for both nations. TUFI works to encourage the British Trade Union Movement to play a positive role in improving the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis. TUFI engages with progressive forces advocating peace, social justice and human rights. It seeks to emphasize the diversity of Israeli society, striving for full equality regardless of ethnicity, religion or gender.

TUFI believes that it is right for unions around the world to be discussing the plight of the Palestinians and seeking ways to provide assistance to them. But that support for Palestinians should not be counterproductive to the situation on the ground and the ongoing peace process.  Rather than supporting divestment from Israel, TUFI believes that investment of time, energy and material aid is the way to meaningful progress towards achieving a lasting settlement.

TUFI believes that calling for boycotts of Israel is not the right approach for a trade union. The economic relationship between the Palestinian and Israeli economies is vitally important to the peace process. Economic boycotts against Israel can only damage this. A stable relationship between the Palestinian and Israeli economies, with good trade links, is crucial for the peace process to succeed.  From a trade union perspective, Histadrut is of the view that the resolution to the conflict will involve an economic as much as a political settlement.

TUFI believes that the Palestinian economy needs to develop a dependable economic and trading relationship with Israel.  Calls for a boycott of Israel, by aspiring to weaken Israel’s economy, would be counterproductive. It would have a detrimental effect on the Palestinian economy, the peace process, and fundamentally, the Palestinian people.

As a trade union, if NAPO wishes to become involved in international affairs, it should do so by affiliating to international trade union movements. TUFI is an organization that works with both Israeli and Palestinian Trade Unions.

Pat Waterman
Greater London Branch

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