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about the current developments in the Middle East
Moscow, 12 January 2009

The General Confederation of Trade Unions (GCTU) expresses its deep concern over the tragic developments in the Middle East.

It is with anguish and compassion that trade unions in the CIS countries take the news about the killing of hundreds of civilians in Gaza, including women, children and old people, who fell victim to the armed conflict raging between Israel and Hamas. The disproportionate response to rocket attacks launched by Hamas on Israeli territory has evolved into full-scale hostilities. Thousands of people have been killed and injured, and a great number of dwelling houses, schools, industrial enterprises and other civilian objects have been destroyed. The whole area is actually on the verge of a humanitarian disaster.

The GCTU urges both parties to the conflict to abide fully by the UN Security Council decision of 9 January 2009, stop immediately the fighting in the Gaza Strip and the rocket attacks on Israel, and withdraw Israeli troops outside the Palestine borders. We believe this to be the only way to avoid further escalation of the military confrontation, agree on a cease-fire, restore peace in the region, and create the necessary conditions for urgent humanitarian relief to affected population.

The GCTU calls on its affiliates, on trade unions in Israel and Palestine, on the international trade union movement, and on the entire world community to do their best to speed up a peaceful settlement of the conflict in the interests of Palestinian and Israeli workers, for the sake of international security.

General Confederation of Trade Unions