Cape Town – A number of cabinet ministers, personalities, activists and political leaders have vowed to join a 24 hour fast in solidarity with Palestinians.
Human rights and Palestine solidarity organisation Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel in South Africa (BDS South Africa) has joined the call for a fast by other solidarity organisations.
The fast is due to take place from 6pm on Sunday, May 14 and end on Monday, May 15, at 6pm.
The list of those who have pledged their support to the fast includes Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo, Deputy Minister in the Presidency Buti Manamela, Basic Education Deputy Minister Enver Surty, Communications Deputy Minister Stella Tembisa Ndabeni-Abrahams, and former Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom.
Others have also pledged their support.
These include former African Union chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte, ANC Western Cape provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs, presenter Hajra Omarjee, activist Frans Baleni, media personality Kuli Roberts, former MK operative Charles Setsubi, prominent ANC member Kay Sexwale, former Robben Island prisoner Kehla Shubane, activist and presenter Shaka Sisulu, Congress of South Africa Students secretary-general Khulekani Skosana, author and journalist Janet Smith, media personality Nina Hastie, and media personality and social activist Yusuf Abramjee.
In a statement, BDS spokesperson Kwara Kekana said: "There are currently over 6 500 #PalestinianPoliticalPrisoners detained by Israel. Over the past 50 years, more than 800 000 Palestinians have been imprisoned or detained by Israel (about 40% of all Palestinian men living under occupation have at some point been detained by Israel). Virtually every single Palestinian family has been affected by Israeli imprisonment of a loved one.
"Presently there are more than 500 Palestinians held under Israel’s 'administrative detention' (equivalent of Apartheid SA’s 'detention without trial'). Twenty-five Palestinian journalists and 13 Palestinian parliamentarians are also currently being incarcerated in Israeli prisons. Israel is also holding 300 Palestinian children (some as young as 13 years old). In the last year alone Israel has arrested more than 400 Palestinians for social media posts.
"A mass hunger strike was launched on Monday, April 17, by #PalestinianPoliticalPrisoners demanding, among others, family visits, appropriate medical care, ending abusive conditions and stopping the use of solitary confinement and administrative detention.
"Those who would like to join the solidarity fast are invited to submit their names to [email protected]."