The following statement was released yesterday by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Sector union:
Kevin Rudd is set to host an Israeli delegation to Australia led by Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom. Shalom is one of the most senior members of the extreme right wing Israeli political party, Likud, forming part of the current Israeli Government.
Shalom recently met with the UN Secretary General to urge him to prevent debate of the Goldstone Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission into the 2008/09 Gaza Conflict. This Report found that both sides had committed war crimes and called for national investigations of these actions.
Shalom and Likud’s opposition to this Report is no surprise given their strong support for the Israeli attack on Gaza in January this year and the ongoing blockade of Gaza by the Israeli Government. This blockade is preventing 100,000 Palestinians with homes destroyed by Israel from rebuilding, through stopping the importation of the necessary building materials from Israel.
In his other role as Minister for Regional Development, Shalom has overseen the continued expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, watch his press conference urging Israeli’s to continue this process (see here). Shalom even opposes the limited freeze on new West Bank settlements recently announced by his Government.
No doubt some trade union apologists for Israel will be out in force to welcome Shalom, pushing their line opposing the growing Israeli boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign, in the face of the Palestinian trade union movement that fully supports it (see here).
Just over two months ago, Kevin Rudd in his speech to the UN General Assembly talked of strengthening international law, reaffirming faith in human rights and advancing economic growth and social progress for all. All of these worthy concepts are alien to Shalom and Likud in their treatment of the Palestinians in the illegally occupied Palestinian territories.
We call on Rudd to consider the plight of occupied Palestine and to hold Shalom and Likud to account for their actions and statements, which are making Israel look more like South Africa under apartheid than a modern democratic state.