Durban port workers refuse to offload cargo from Israeli ship in solidarity with Palestine
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DURBAN - The South African Trade and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) has announced that its members will refuse to offload cargo from the Israeli Zim Shinghai docked in Durban harbour on Thursday in a show of sympathy for the Palestinian victims of recent airstrikes and to blame the Israeli government for the resurgence of conflict.
Satawu's deputy general secretary, Anele Kiet, said their members confirmed they would snub Israeli carriers and related work, and, in addition, there would be lunch time pickets in solidarity with the Palestinian cause.
"We received a request from the SA BDS Coalition that as part of showing solidarity with Palestine, Satawu members who work in the Durban port need to boycott the shipment. Indeed we have contacted our members at the Durban port, who have confirmed they will not be offloading the shipment. We will be picketing every day at lunchtime and engaging in demonstrations," said Kiet.
The SA BDS Coalition, an affiliate of the Palestinian BDS Committee, said it would be joined by unions and civil society bodies sympathetic to the Palestinian course in protests this morning.
“Members of the South African BDS Coalition, its affiliates and other partner organisations and trade unions will converge on the Durban Esplanade and Durban port on Friday, 21 May, to protest the docking (sic) of an Israeli ship, and in celebration of the decision by members of Satawu to boycott the offloading of the ship,” the coalition said in a statement.
“The decision by Satawu and the BDS Coalition follows a call by the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) on workers and trade unions to refuse to unload (Israeli) ships and goods from sea and airports,” it stated.
“The PGFTU’s call is one of many actions of boycotts, divestment and sanctions called for by Palestinians - a consequence of the barbaric Israeli onslaught on Gaza, the killings of Palestinians in the West Bank, the pogroms in Haifa Lyddia, Haifa, Jaffa and other town and cities and the ethnic cleansing in Occupied Jerusalem,” the organisation said.
It said more than 230 people had been killed, most of them civilians, including about 70 children, as well as the wholesale destruction of infrastructure in Gaza, and a 14-year medieval-like siege of the territory.
The Zim Shanghai, owned by Israeli state-owned company Zim Lines, was said by the coalition to have entered Durban harbour on Wednesday night, although Transnet had not confirmed this by the time of publication.
“The action against the ship is part of a global set of actions against Zim Lines. The protests also target Transnet, demanding that the parastatal not allow goods to or from Israel to pass through South African ports,” the coalition said.
Attempts to get comment from Transnet and its affected divisions had not materialised by the time of publication.