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SA political parties, unions condemn Israel evictions, attacks on Palestine

AS Israel-Palestine tensions escalated towards what many fear could end up in a full-scale war, South African political parties and trade unions have condemned the forced evictions of Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the bombardment of Gaza by the Israel army.

Israel killed a Hamas commander and vowed no let-up in its Gaza barrages yesterday as Palestinian militants rained rockets far across the border and Washington dispatched an envoy to try to calm their most intense hostilities in years.

At least 65 people have been killed in Gaza since violence escalated on Monday, according to the enclave’s health ministry. Six people have been killed in Israel, medical officials said.

SA political parties and civil society have condemned Israel’s action and are planning a protest march in Cape Town. The Palestine protest march is being organized by, among others, the Muslim Judicial Council, Al Quds Foundation, National Coalition 4 Palestine (NC4P), the ANC,

GoodParty, Economic Freedom Fighters, SACP, ANC Youth League, NFP, Al Jamaah, Kairos Southern Africa, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and #Africa4Palestine.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) condemned Israel for “ its relentless attacks on the people of Palestine.”

In a statement, Numsa said: “ Israeli police have been cracking down violently on protestors who are justifiably angry about the forced expulsions of Palestinian families from the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The protests have been sparked by a decision taken by Apartheid Israel to expel six Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem. The expulsion was supposed to have taken place, but it has been delayed, due to an appeal which is pending at the Israeli Supreme Court.

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“Israel continues to impose institutionalized discrimination and racism against Palestinians living under its rule in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It has displaced millions of Palestinian people in Israel and the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as a result of home demolitions and imposition of other coercive measures. Israeli forces continue to use excessive force during law enforcement activities in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

The South African Communist Party (SACP) called upon the United Nations to exert extensive pressure on the Israeli regime to abandon its apartheid policy on Palestine. 

“Apartheid, declared a crime against humanity by the United Nations, was bad for South Africa, and it is also bad for Palestine – though the measures being undertaken by Israeli regime appear to be even worse than those that were imposed in South Africa.  The SACP stands in unconditional solidarity with the people of Palestine in their resilient fight against the Israeli apartheid regime. We support all efforts across the world aimed at the strengthening of international solidarity, as well as democratic and peaceful activities in support of the oppressed Palestinian people,” the SACP said in a statement.

The South Africa Trade Federation of Trade Unions’s secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi said:

“SAFTU join hands with all progressive organisations and trade unions who stand against Israeli apartheid, by pledging solidarity with the Palestinian people. We urge all working-class organisations across the world to protest this latest set of atrocities, including in South Africa at our parliament and Israeli state offices, as has begun this week. We call for all people of conscience to rally, and to pressure governments, businesses and all institutions to divest and cut ties with Israel:

  • Stop handling goods imported from or exported to Israel,
  • Divest trade union pension – and other – funds from Israel bonds and from corporations and banks that are complicit in Israel’s occupation and human
    rights violations,
  • Dissociate from Israeli trade unions which are complicit in the occupation,
  • Support the call for a military embargo on Israel, and
  • Boycott Israeli products
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“This campaign should be intensified until Israel complies with international law, respects the rights of Palestinians to exist as a state, the human rights and lives of Palestinians.”

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) strongly condemned Israel’s attack at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the planned evictions of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah/East Jerusalem. “We condemn the Israeli military attacks against Palestinian protesters in occupied East Jerusalem, and airstrikes into Gaza that killed dozens of people including nine children. We send our unwavering message of solidarity to the Palestinian people. We commit to continue to support the BDS and all other efforts to ensure that the Palestinians are free. To echo the words of world statesman Nelson Mandela, “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

SADTU called on US President Joe Biden to rescind former President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

By The African Mirror