14 July 2014 – The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) has condemned the growing number of deaths resulting from Israeli military strikes against Gaza in the last few days and launched an appeal to assist those affected. The air strikes have been in response to the launch of missiles into Israel by Hamas, but the Israeli response is widely seen as vastly disproportionate and with a near total disregard for civilian lives.
ITF president Paddy Crumlin stated: “We strongly condemn the strikes by the Israeli military which are being launched into one of the most densely populated areas in the world. This is done in the full knowledge that there will be horrendous civilian casualties. We call for the urgent implementation of the UN Security Council’s call for an immediate ceasefire.”
The ITF’s call joins that of the International Trade Union Confederation* (ITUC) in demanding that an immediate ceasefire be followed by renewed international pressure to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and find a negotiated settlement to respect the 1967 borders between Israel and a Palestinian state.
More than 170 civilians have been killed in Gaza in six days of continuous air strikes including many children; more than 1, 000 have been injured. Thousands of families have had to flee their homes. To date there have been no Israeli casualties from Hamas missiles.
The ITF’s member union the Gaza Bus Drivers’ Union has reported that the humanitarian situation in Gaza has reached crisis point. All normal transport operations are stopped and fishing boats have become victims of military strikes.
The ITF is launching an immediate relief effort coordinated by its office in Amman, Jordan. See www.itfglobal.org/campaigns/ITF-Gaza-fund.cfm for details of how trade unions can help send food and medical supplies to the people of Gaza.
“We are already preparing the means to send medical supplies and equipment to Gaza as soon as this becomes practically possible. I am making an urgent call to all ITF-affiliated unions to provide financial support for a trade union humanitarian relief effort for Gaza, ” Crumlin concluded.
In 2009 a similar ITF programme delivered ambulances, food and medicine during the attacks at that time (www.itfglobal.org/press-area/index.cfm/pressdetail/2954).