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Publié le mercredi 8 septembre 2004

French trade unions in favour of a just peace in the Middle East



The escalation of violence that has continued over the last seventeen months in the Middle East shows once again that the solution to that conflict cannot be military. The path of war will not lead anywhere.
As French unions, we want to point to several issues that we feel must be addressed in order to find a just solution to the conflict.
A just and lasting peace cannot be achieved without the existence of two states that are politically independent, economically viable and sure of their security within internationally recognised borders. This implies the genuine recognition of Israel by all countries in the region. It also implies the withdrawal of colonies established in the occupied territories, fair treatment for refugees and the settlement of the problem of Jerusalem and its status as a capital.
We defend this idea with many other actors, the final goal being to build peace at last. Of course, we are opposed to violent strategies, whether implemented by a regular army or by terrorist organisations. But it also means being aware of the present reality in terms of balance of power between both parties. Searching for an agreement today cannot ignore this reality : the occupation and colonisation of Palestinian territories, the imbalance between a strong country both militarily and economically and territories, whose economy has been devastated and that have been subjected to poverty resulting from a blockade and separate development.
Hence, if negotiations are to be resumed, there is need for support from all peace forces in the Middle East and effective commitment by the international community and the UN. In this sense, we refuse any use of the conflict for racist or anti-Semitic purposes, which would only further extend violence and go against the interests of both parties.
French trade unions call upon the French government and the European Union to support the establishment of a peacekeeping force and a mediation group.
Our analysis and action with both trade unions in the region – Histadrut (Israel) and PGFTU (Palestine) – are founded on these principles. Our active solidarity is expressed through the support we give to a dialogue that must be pursued and amplified between these unions.
As from 8 April, French trade unions will use all the means at their disposal to circulate this statement in firms, administrations and, generally, to all their members. They agree to work together in the long term to support both trade unions in the region, and with the international trade union movement. They consider this as the best way of demonstrating their unfailing commitment to peace.