MUA members united in calling for peace, safety and justice in Palestine

MARITIME UNION OF AUSTRALIA

STATEMENT

24 May 2024

MUA members united in calling for peace, safety and justice in Palestine

The Maritime Union of Australia’s National Secretary, Paddy Crumlin, who is also the International Transport Workers Federation President, will travel to Ramallah in Palestine this week as part of an international trade union delegation of global labour leaders to see firsthand the devastating impacts of the ongoing conflict in occupied Palestine.

The Maritime Union of Australia has an unmatched record of solidarity, support and action alongside people suffering atrocities, fleeing violence and resisting oppression. For more than 150 years, our Union has taken a leadership role in the peace movement, against violence, imperialism, arms proliferation and apartheid wherever it exists.

Australian maritime workers remain appalled by the ongoing violence, murder and destruction being wrought throughout Israel and Palestine, especially in Gaza.

The Union reiterates its ongoing call for an immediate and enduring ceasefire. We call for an immediate release of all hostages. We call for an end to the blockade of Gaza.

We reject any suggestion that this call for peace is one-sided. We have continuously condemned the activities of Hamas. Our calls for peace are not an anti-Semitic statement and we join with the many hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens who oppose the ongoing violence of their ultra-Right wing government.

We join our fellow Australian and international trade unionists in condemning the deaths of over 34,000 civilians since 7 October including (1200 Israelis and over 33,000 Palestinians) and we condemn the killing of Zomi Frankcom and other aid workers, including those working for Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA partner MA’AN development centre who have been working on emergency relief in Gaza.

We stand in solidarity with Palestine and have worked alongside Palestinian trade unions for many years, supporting them in their struggle for justice, dignity and peace.

The MUA calls for an end to the occupation of Palestine and a just and sustainable peace in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, including the removal of illegal settlements, the withdrawal of Israel from all Palestinian lands along with the dismantling of the separation wall.

The Union has always opposed the illegal occupation of Palestine, and we stand in solidarity with all people – including Israelis, Palestinians and people throughout the Middle East – who are committed to peace, equality and justice.

Today, our comrades in Palestine are calling for international support and solidarity now more than ever before. 

The situation in Palestine is dire. Israel’s indiscriminate military bombardment has killed thousands of innocent lives in Gaza and displaced millions more. The continued siege is denying Gazans’ access to essential services including fuel, water and electricity and lifesaving food and medical supplies. In the West Bank, Palestinians are facing escalating violence and restrictions, resulting in hundreds of deaths and making it near impossible for trade unions to support their members. 

In addition to the ongoing physical threats faced by Palestinian people under bombardment, two million people are facing food insecurity. Food shortages have exceeded famine levels and mass death is imminent. The MUA condemns the use of starvation as a weapon of war and urges Israel to comply with the International Court of Justice’s Order to take immediate steps to prevent acts of genocide, punish incitement to genocide, and facilitate the provision of basic services and humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza.

Israel must immediately provide food and essentials to people in Gaza and ensure unimpeded access for humanitarian aid.

Our Union is deeply concerned at evidence that Australian companies are supplying parts used in global supply chains, including to the F-35 fighter jet that Israel utilises to drop bombs on Palestine, that support the continued bombardment of Gaza. Under international law, Australia has obligations to deny exports that could or would be used to violate humanitarian law and must employ all means to prevent genocide by another state. The Australian Government must take active steps to ensure it is not contributing to breaches of international law.

We further call on the Australian Federal Government to adopt a stronger, bi-partisan approach to promote peace in the Middle East for all working-class Israelis and Palestinians and their families who have borne the brunt of this conflict for generations.

Our Union adds our voice to the calls from the ACTU for the Australian Government to take immediate steps to secure peace by:

  • Using all influence, pressure, and diplomatic measures to achieve a permanent ceasefire.
  • Ending all military trade with Israel
  • Enacting targeted sanctions on Israeli officials who have called for the denial of aid, and military and civil servants denying essential food and materials to civilians of Gaza.
  • Committing additional funding of $100 million in humanitarian assistance to Gaza and the West Bank

Moreover, the MUA will never accept political restrictions on the right to protest, the right to gather peacefully, and the right to political expression – these are fundamental to democracy.

The MUA’s branches will be joining various rallies around Australia this weekend, through the National Day of Action at our ports on May 25th, including at Port Botany, Port of Brisbane and Port Melbourne, Fremantle, Newcastle, Adelaide, Darwin and Hobart.

/Public Release. View in full here.