Call for global condemnation of Israel's planned annexation of Palestinian territories
Johannesburg - South African activists campaigning against the planned annexation of Palestinian territories by Israel next month have called for intensified international community condemnation of the move.
They expressed concern at what they described as deafening silence of the global community at atrocities committed by Israel in Palestine.
On Thursday, the SA Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) coalition held a briefing as part of drumming up support for its campaign against the annexation plans, which would see about 30% of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley being taken over if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has his way.
The campaign has also secured support from individuals who were signatories to the released Global South solidarity statement, including former president Kgalema Motlanthe, SAFTU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi among many other figures from SA and other African countries.
In their solidarity statement, the signatories slammed how successive Israeli governments had “weaponised the decades-long negotiation process with the Palestinians, to further escalate and entrench the theft of Palestinian land”.
“We, therefore, demand that our governments work together to ensure that the rules-based system of the United Nations prevails over the fanatic and pernicious might-makes-right ideology espoused by the Israeli government and Trump’s White House,” they said.
Palestine Solidarity Alliance campaign coordinator Firoza Mayet said the experiences of Palestinians were not different from those of black South Africans during the apartheid era as they were now being pushed into ghettos with minimal socio-economic rights.
Mayet said the apartheid regime was defeated through international solidarity including through isolation, which she said had to be applied on Israel.
“It is now our turn to join the international community and stand with the people of Palestine in the fight for a single democratic state where all who live in it are equal before the law irrespective of race, religion, gender or ethnicity."
She said Israel had for years been allowed to undermine international law with impunity through invasions, illegal settlements and annexations.
“This planned annexation of 30% of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley will culminate years of gradual theft and occupation through the appropriation of land, the forcible displacement of the Palestinian population and the settling of Israelis in the occupied territories,” said Mayet.
This week, experts of the United Nations deployed by the Human Rights Council to deal with the saga called for the international community to ensure accountability and help halt the planned annexation by Israel, adding that it would be “a serious violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the Geneva Conventions”.
The experts said the move by Netanyahu’s government would be an addition on a long list of human rights violations by Israel against Palestinian people, including settler violence, confiscation of natural resources and discrimination.
“These human rights violations would only intensify after annexation. What would be left of the West Bank would be a Palestinian Bantustan, islands of disconnected land surrounded by Israel and with no territorial connection to the outside world,” the UN experts said.
The experts also slammed US President Donald Trump’s backing of Israel’s plans.
Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils, a vocal Israeli critic, said while SA was already in support of Palestine, President Cyril Ramaphosa had to use his position as the African Union chair to rally the whole continent behind the campaign.
Attempts to obtain comment from the Israeli embassy in South Africa were unsuccessful.