Toggle high contrast

UK government must stop trade talks with Israel to support peace in the Middle East

Published date

On 18 March, the TUC wrote to Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch in response to the news that the UK continues to be in active trade talks with Israel. 

The government concluded the latest round at the end of February.

The TUC believes trade negotiations must be used to ensure respect for human rights and international law.

We have longstanding policy on Palestinian rights.

Since the UK launched trade talks on an updated trade agreement with Israel in March 2022, the TUC has consistently stated it does not believe the government should engage in these negotiations, given Israel’s persistent violation of international law, UN resolutions and systematic violations of Palestinian labour and human rights.

In light of the Israeli government’s military operations in Gaza in recent months where these violations have intensified, our letter calls for the government to:

  • end trade talks with Israel
  • end arms sales and military collaboration
  • end the UK’s trade in goods from the Occupied Palestinian Territories

On 26 January the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found it ‘plausible’ that Israel’s acts could amount to genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza and issued binding provisional measures.

The UK government has an obligation as a party to the Genocide Convention to take measures to prevent genocide.  It is therefore incumbent on the government to ensure Israel acts in accordance with the ICJ ruling.

Our letter follows the TUC’s General Council statement unequivocally condemning the shocking attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas, calling for the immediate, unconditional release of all hostages unharmed, and calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.  As our statement set out, we deplore any attacks on civilians and believe that neither the killing of Israeli civilians by Hamas nor the collective punishment of the people of Gaza by the Israeli government will do anything to end the occupation of Palestinian territories and bring about peace.

We are deeply concerned that reportedly more than 31,000 Palestinians, mainly women and children, have been killed in operations launched by Israeli forces since 7 October.

In February the TUC wrote to the Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron calling for an immediate ceasefire accompanied by a political process. It expressed disappointment the UK government had so far failed to support such a ceasefire.

The TUC calls on the government to support genuine efforts towards a just, lasting and comprehensive peace that is consistent with international law, and is based on a two-state solution, which promotes equality, democracy and respect for human and labour rights.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

To access the admin area, you will need to setup two-factor authentication (TFA).

Setup now