The Fire Brigades Union has been accused of a “one-sided” approach to the Middle East conflict over a statement calling for a suspension of UK arms sales to Israel.
In a statement today “deploring the horrific attacks” on Gaza, the FBU also rounded on what it in turn described as the “one-sided” approach of British ministers and claimed most media outlets showed “bias” in Israel’s favour.
It said: “The assault amounts to the collective punishment of a population already suffering terribly from the effects of the blockade.
“The FBU is appalled that UK-manufactured military equipment could be used in the attack on Gaza and calls for the suspension of UK arms sales to Israel.”
A spokesman for the Fair Play campaign group, a joint project of the Jewish Leadership Council and Board of deputies, said the FBU’s “one-sided statement is full of inaccuracies” and added: “Naive calls for embargoes would only undermine Israel’s ability to defend itself against thousands of rockets.”
A statement also drew attention to the union’s claim that 80 percent of those killed in Gaza were women and children, saying: “They’ve just invented casualty figures that are much worse than those Hamas claim.”
The FBU – which also urged support for the boycott of settlement goods – added: “The Israeli offensive is completely unjustified. The FBU believes that only a ceasefire observed by all – including those firing rockets into Israel – followed by serious negotiations with all parties can bring peace.
There is no military solution to the conflict – only a political solution based around two states can bring justice to all involved.”
The union said the FBU said its supports UK demonstrations against the operation “and calls on our members and friends to attend these mobilisations”
It is the latest union to condemn Israel’s operation. Two weeks ago the UNITE union issued a statement which failed even to call for an end to rocket attacks from Gaza.
Calling Israel an “apartheid” state and urging support for BDS, it said: ““Unite is clear about its understanding of the current situation. This isn’t about rockets from Gaza. It’s about Israel fighting to maintain its control over Palestinian lives, and Palestinian land.
“It’s about Israel feeling able to commit war crimes with complete impunity. It’s about the brutal siege on Gaza, and the third military assault on a trapped population in less than 6 years.”
It called on Britain to “make clear” to Israel “a move for international sanctions will be launched within the United Nations Security Council and the European Union” if it fails to end its operation.