Speech by the General Secretary of the World Federation of Trade Unions, George Mavrikos
22 March 2012

Ramallah, Palestine

Dear comrades,
Dear brother Ibrahim Haidar,
Dear brothers and sisters, Palestinians,

“Palestine” is a long lasting crime of Imperialism. Since 1916 when the English and the French “in the Sykes-Picot Agreement” defined their spheres of influence using a ruler and today the plots for the New Middle East, with the imperialist attacks and interventions in Afganistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, the collar around Palestine narrows even more dangerously.

The Palestinians suffer under the barbarity of the Israeli occupation, the occupation of the territories after the six-day war, the separation wall built by Israel, the organized attacks against the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Half of the Palestinians live under the poverty line. Unemployment is dramatic and it gets more difficult for the Palestinians to work having to pass through the check-points which humiliate them daily.

More than 5.5 million Palestinians are refugees while more than 10.000 Palestinians are imprisoned in more than 30 detention locations. Torturing and degradation are a daily routine for the Israeli army. More than 120 settlements have been built illegally in the occupied territories. The access to clean water and supplies is extremely limited. New numbers,  more Palestinian deaths are announced daily.

Those numbers may be showing the reality but they are not enough to describe the brutality experienced by the Palestinian people. Nor are they enough to describe the heroism and the self-sacrifice of the Palestinians who do not compromise, who continue to struggle against the imperialist barbarity against the murderous policy of Israel and the USA, for decades.

“Palestine” has also brought to light the dynamics and the power of the internationalist solidarity. The workers the ordinary people around the world are on the side of the Palestinians. They have chosen sides. The World Federation of Trade Unions with a consistent and stable activity is standing on the side of the Palestinian people in struggle. It supports morally and practically this struggle. It organized campaigns to inform and to mobilize the working class worldwide to express the international solidarity.

We organized a three-day strike on the ports of the world in June 2010.

We organized complaints in the ILO.

We organized a solidarity campaign for the recognition of the Palestinian State in September 2011 where dozens of messages reached the international organizations.

We state once more that we will not cease to support the struggle of our brothers in Palestine until the goal for an independent, viable and democratic Palestine in the borders of 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital is achieved.

We will continue with action and initiatives to demand:
• The end of the settlements and the withdrawal of all settlers who have settled across the borders of 1967.
• The demolition of the separation wall in Jerusalem.
• All the Palestinian refugees to be granted the right to return to their homes, based on the relevant decisions of the UN
• The elimination of any exclusion against the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
• The immediate release of imprisoned Palestinians and other political prisoners kept in the Israeli prisons.
• The withdrawal of the Israeli army from all the occupied territories of the 1967, including the Golan Heights and the Sheba area of Southern Lebanon.

Because history and its lessons teach us, brothers, that the force of overthrow are the class-oriented, internationalist struggles. No positive development for the people has come out of the imperialist mechanisms. They cannot and the will not implement the vindication of the Palestinian people, they cannot and they will not impose peace in the Middle East.

The imperialist interventions and the intra-imperialist rivalries in the countries of the North Africa, Middle East, in Afganistan, in Iraq etc. prove that the UN today is utilized to legitimize the attacks and the occupation and to equate the perpetrator and the victim. While the decisions of the UN against Libya, Iraq, Afganistan are implemented rapidly, the dozens of decisions for a just solution for Palestine are still in papers, un-applied.

The real solution will come only through the continued heroic struggle of the Palestinian people with the support of the progressive popular and workers movement.

We have a duty, comrades, to do more.

We have a duty to teach the working class of our countries that the struggle for the wages, for the labour and social rights is inseparately connected with the struggle, against imperialism, the struggle against the bourgeois-class which is squeezing the working class and our people, the struggle against the monopolies, the struggle for a society without exploitation.

The Palestinian people must be vindicated. This is our duty we are to be held accountable for, every day.

The World Federation of Trade Unions, with members and friends who struggle in 120 countries on all the continents, will continue to stand actively on the side of the Palestinian People.

This is a commitment we undertake here, in your presence. Until the final victory.
Viva the Palestinian people!           
Viva the Palestinian struggle!