Unite’s Philippa Marsden spoke from the heart when she addressed conference on Wednesday (September 11) in support of a motion on Palestine.
She described the first-hand experience she and a TUC Women’s Committee delegation had when they visited Palestine, in the now walled city of Bethlehem and a refugee camp in Jenin.
“Nothing could have prepared us for the brutality which is being meted out by the Israeli state on a daily basis,” she said. “We spoke to Palestinian families whose homes had been raided for no reason at two in the morning.
“We spoke to distraught mothers who could not speak to their own children – because they were being detained and processed by a Military Court,” Philippa added. “We saw the empty tear gas and foul-smelling ‘skunk gas’ canisters that littered the road sides and gardens of peoples’ homes.”
Describing what they saw as a “systematic campaign of harassment, degradation and humiliation”, Philippa said, “There were times when we felt we could no nothing more than cry – and I’m not ashamed to say that’s exactly what we did.”
But she urged Congress not to give up in despair.
“We must re-double our solidarity efforts,” she said. “I am proud that Unite stands squarely behind PSC and of the work we have done to help establish the network Labour & Palestine within the Labour Party.
“Besieged and blockaded from all sides, the Gaza strip remains the world largest prison.
“The campaign of harassment, the land annexations, and the building of illegal settlements and walls has created a string of mini-Gaza’s across the West Bank.
“Congress, this is what the end game of Netanyahu and Trump’s vision looks like,” Philippa concluded. “It is nothing short of an openly apartheid-state.”
She urged congress to support the motion and give the Palestinian people the solidarity they so desperately need.
The motion was carried.