ROME: Italian dockworkers have again refused to load weapons on ships headed for Israel, in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
A strike was proclaimed on Tuesday by trade unions in the port of Ravenna in northeast Italy after they learned that a ship, the Asiatic Liberty, was expected that would have to be loaded with weapons destined for the Israeli port of Ashdod.
“We didn’t want to legitimize in any way the departure of weapons from Italy to Israel, so we decided to cross our arms, even if it would’ve been costly,” Marcello Santarelli from the CGIL union told Arab News.
“The workers of the port of Ravenna are well aware that their act in favor of peace in the Middle East can’t even remotely constitute decisive action to resolve the conflict, but they believe it was necessary to send a message,” he added.
“The only way to peacefully oppose war is to actively take a stand against it whenever the opportunity arises.”
The Unione Sindacale di Base, an independent trade union organization, said: “One thing is certain: Weapons destined for Israel for the conflict with Palestine will not depart from Italy, at least not from the port of Ravenna.”
The owner of the Asiatic Liberty on Wednesday announced that the ship would not dock in Ravenna, after which the unions called off the strike.
“We consider this a victory for the workers and for their involvement in the only way they can to help build peace,” said Santarelli.
Last week in Livorno, the biggest port in the region of Tuscany, another cargo ship destined for Ashdod could not be loaded with weapons due to the Unione Sindacale di Base proclaiming a strike in solidarity with the Palestinian people.