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The ITUC is calling for an immediate cessation of violence in Israel and Palestine, and urgent talks through the UN and the Middle East Quad to tackle the immediate causes of the violence and the underlying injustices from the Israeli occupation.

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have killed 24 people, including nine children. These were launched in retaliation for rockets fired from Gaza, which injured more than 20 people. These attacks came after days of violence, in particular in Jerusalem, where hundreds of Palestinians were injured in demonstrations against forced evictions of Palestinian families by the Israeli authorities so that their houses could be handed over to Israelis. The planned evictions, if implemented, would constitute a gross violation of Israel’s obligations under international law. Root cause

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “We utterly condemn the violence and in particular the loss of life in all cases. It is also heartbreaking to see Palestinian families facing being thrown out of their homes to make way for Israeli settlers. Yet again, the unjust and illegal occupation of Palestinian lands, and the perpetuation of the occupation of Palestine by Israel, are the root cause.

“The only acceptable and sustainable solution is the full implementation of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions aimed at ending the occupation, with negotiations bringing about the existence of two sovereign states: Palestine and Israel.”

In another development, Ashraf Al-A’war, a Secretary of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, was detained on 8 May by Israeli security forces and subjected to questioning about his trade union activities until late that night. An Israeli court then prohibited him from taking part in any trade union or political gathering for a period of one month.

“This is a completely unacceptable example of harassment of a trade union official in the course of his trade union work. It is a clear violation of ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association. The restriction on his trade union activities must be lifted immediately, and he should receive an apology for the mistreatment he has experienced at the hands of the Israeli security forces and the court,” added Sharan Burrow.

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) represents 200 million members of 332 affiliates in 163 countries and territories. www.ituc-csi.org