Global anti-apartheid movement aims to hold Israel accountable

A new global anti-apartheid movement will be formed to fight for the freedom of the Palestinians against Israeli occupation. Picture: Oupa Mokoena /Independent Newspapers

A new global anti-apartheid movement will be formed to fight for the freedom of the Palestinians against Israeli occupation. Picture: Oupa Mokoena /Independent Newspapers

Published Oct 21, 2023


Roshan Dadoo

Under the openly far right, Israeli government, the decades long violence and settler-colonial oppression against indigenous Palestinians is taking ever more brutal forms and with greater impunity.

In addition to more than 10 days of bombing from the air, land and sea on the civilian population of Gaza, on Tuesday night at least 500 Palestinians were massacred by US-supplied Israeli bombs deliberately dropped on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza where hundreds of Palestinians were being treated and many more were sheltered.

“Right now, the Palestinian people are facing a genocidal onslaught from apartheid Israel on an unprecedented scale. In what country other than an apartheid state does the Minister of Defence call the Palestinian people ‘human animals’?” asked Frank Chikane this week.

Chikane was speaking at a press conference called by the South African Anti-Apartheid Conference Steering Committee (SAAASC) announcing plans for an international conference to launch a global anti-apartheid movement against Israel’s regime of settler colonialism and apartheid. The conference is scheduled to be held in Gauteng, from May 10 to 12, next year, leading to the 76th commemoration of the Nakba on May 15 next year.

The SAAASC was constituted by Palestine solidarity groups in South Africa in response to a united call by the Palestinian civil society for the international community to establish a “Global Front to Dismantle Israel’s Regime of Settler Colonialism and Apartheid”.

Last year, Palestinians came together in the first Palestinian National Conference Against Apartheid. This gathering issued a unified anti-apartheid call, and the Palestinian Anti- Apartheid Coordinating Committee (PAACC) was formed as a unifying coalition in order to coordinate with global partners towards ending Israeli apartheid.

“We responded immediately to the Palestinian call, but the conference is the beginning not the end” Chikane said following a press conference in Johannesburg this week to announce this initiative.

Saleh Hijazi, member of the BDS national committee and PAACC, speaking from Ramallah, Palestine, told the press conference: “For over 10 days now, Gaza has been under the most intense Israeli bombardment targeting homes, markets, schools and universities, hospitals, and infrastructure. Entire families have, again, been whipped off the face of the earth. Israel’s onslaught killed over 2,800 Palestinians so far, over 1,000 of those children; according to Defence for Children International, one child is killed every 15 minutes in Gaza. Injured people have surpassed 10,000 people while the health system is at breaking point. Almost half a million people have been internally displaced.”

The recognition of apartheid as a crime against humanity and the meaningful global solidarity with the people’s struggle on the ground – particularly expressed in cutting links of state, corporate and institutional complicity in apartheid – paved the way to freedom and democracy for the people in Southern Africa and their ongoing struggle to end economic inequalities.

The dismantlement of apartheid in South Africa is today a vital milestone in the global struggle against racism, discrimination and colonial oppression, but it remains “incomplete,” as former president Nelson Mandela said, without fully abolishing apartheid everywhere around the world, starting in Palestine.

Regional consultations have begun with groups around the world to bring together in South Africa around 200 civil society participants from Palestine and across Africa, Latin America, North America, Europe, and Asia.

Delegations are expected to include parliamentarians, representatives of political parties, representatives of national and regional Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) organisations, civil society organisations, faith-based organisations and networks, grassroots groups, trade unions, business representatives and professional groups, journalists, lawyers, jurists, academics, artists, students, UN officials, regional multilateral organisations, and others.

The objective of the conference is to set the course and support the mobilisation, organisation and coordination for global action against Israeli apartheid. It aims to:

*Develop political, legal, public diplomacy and media plans based on the Unified Anti-Apartheid Call to further isolate Israel’s regime of oppression and hold it accountable, including to support or otherwise help initiate policy-level campaigns and lobbying efforts aimed at pressuring the UN, regional bodies, and states to impose targeted, lawful sanctions, as was done against apartheid South Africa.

*Set the programme of action for the global front to dismantle Israeli apartheid including the development and announcement of the Pretoria Anti-Apartheid Declaration as a tool for mobilisation, organisation, and action. The programme of action includes supporting bodies at global, regional and grassroots levels to advance anti-apartheid mobilisation and campaigns.

*Develop the coordination and communication infrastructure for the global front in taking the objectives and programme of action forward.

The key objective of the conference is the mobilisation of the Global Anti-Apartheid Movement to hold Israel accountable for its crime of apartheid against the Palestinians and work to dismantle Israeli Apartheid from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

*Dadoo is a member of the South African Anti-Apartheid Steering Committee Secretariat

**The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of Independent Media or IOL