1199SEIU, nation’s largest healthcare union, calls for Gaza ceasefire

December 15, 2023

The Executive Council of 1199SEIU, the highest elected body of the union, releases the following statement:

“1199SEIU calls for the immediate cessation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip, to allow for urgent humanitarian relief amid the collapse of the territory’s health and other infrastructure.  We reiterate our unequivocal condemnation of Hamas’ attack on October 7, the killings, use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, and kidnappings of Israelis and foreign nationals.  We demand the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages taken by Hamas and the end to indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israel.

“As healthcare workers, we are deeply troubled by the worsening health and humanitarian crisis in Gaza.  Food, water, and medicine are urgently needed to save the lives of Palestinian civilians caught up in this conflict.  We reject the notion that Israel’s attacks on hospitals filled with patients[1][2][3][4],apartment blocks filled with families, and the deaths of 11,000+ Palestinian women and children are acceptable collateral damage.  We urge an immediate ceasefire.

“International humanitarian law and the laws of war must be upheld without exception, which include the inviolability of healthcare facilities.  War crimes committed by one side of the conflict cannot and do not serve as justification for crimes and breaches of the Geneva Conventions by the other.

“The world community and all parties involved must commit to negotiating a permanent, just resolution to this conflict which will enable Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and build a future.  Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia must be rejected in all forms as we come together to support survivors, families, and communities facing incalculable trauma.”


[1] https://www.who.int/news/item/04-12-2023-who-appeals-for-protection-of-the-health-system-from-further-attacks-and-degradation-of-its-capacity
[2] https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/11/14/gaza-unlawful-israeli-hospital-strikes-worsen-health-crisis
[3] https://www.btselem.org/gaza_strip/20231207_humanitarian_catastrophe_as_policy
[4] https://www.msf.org/gaza-patients-and-medical-staff-trapped-hospitals-under-fire