We are all horrified by the devastating violence we have seen in Israel and Gaza in recent weeks. I know that many UNISON activists are eager to respond to the crisis, so we are encouraging all our branches to support the critical work of Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and the Red Cross.
UNISON condemns the brutal and heinous attack by Hamas against innocent civilians in Israel, and the indiscriminate bombing and collective punishment of the people of Gaza. We are calling for a ceasefire, the immediate and safe release of hostages and for an end to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Gaza’s fragile health system was already close to collapse before the latest escalation, due to the 16-year blockade on the narrow strip of land. The bombing of Gaza and further severe restrictions on access to water, energy and essential medical supplies have seriously exacerbated the health crisis, with 14 out of 35 hospitals and 71% of primary healthcare facilities no longer able to function.
It is essential that we do all we can to support our colleagues working to save lives in the most appalling circumstances in Gaza and Israel. That is why UNISON has already donated £10,000 to support the critical work of Medical Aid for Palestinians and the Red Cross, and we are asking UNISON branches to give generously to these emergency appeals too.
MAP has a team working in Gaza to get essential supplies to healthcare providers. It is also working with the Palestinian Red Crescent and is establishing operations in Egypt. The Red Cross is working to provide critical support both in Gaza and Israel in response to the crisis, working with the Palestinian Red Crescent and Magen David Adom.
Over 1,400 Israelis and 8,500 Palestinians had been killed by the end of October, and many thousands more injured, sadly, so many of them are children. Please do all you can to support the essential work of these organisations and help our colleagues in Gaza and Israel save lives.