Palestine shall be free once apartheid Israel is reined in

Some of the pupils from Orient Islamic School who took part in a placard demonstration in Centenary Road, Greyville on Friday. They, like pupils from other Muslim schools, were protesting against the Israeli incursion into Palestine and the wanton killing of innocent people. Picture: Niney Ruthnam

Some of the pupils from Orient Islamic School who took part in a placard demonstration in Centenary Road, Greyville on Friday. They, like pupils from other Muslim schools, were protesting against the Israeli incursion into Palestine and the wanton killing of innocent people. Picture: Niney Ruthnam

Published Oct 15, 2023


THE powerful nations of the world, led by the United States in an unwavering and unconditional support for Israel in its war against Palestine, comes as no surprise at all.

Since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war that displayed multitudes of the Palestinian people in the land of their forebears, the legitimate struggle for freedom by Palestinians has remained a thorny issue in the Middle East and in geopolitics in general.

Having been born and bred under apartheid South Africa, I find it quite easy to identify with the plight of the people of Palestine. It is also not difficult to appreciate their resort to the most desperate means in an attempt to draw international attention to their plight.

There were times during apartheid South Africa’s rule when the black majority felt that their oppression was permanent.

However, there were some among us who mustered the courage to rise and confront the brutish force of the apartheid regime, thereby giving courage to many who had begun to lose hope.

There are way too many similarities between apartheid South Africa and apartheid Israel. The US, Germany and the United Kingdom served as long-term bedrocks of apartheid South Africa.

They accused Nelson Mandela and his ANC comrades of being terrorists for fighting apartheid brutality with concomitant brutish force.

The US, UK and Germany also served as the economic mainstay of apartheid South Africa, ensuring that calls for sanctions against the white minority regime of South Africa fell on deaf ears.

We confronted the brutality of the apartheid government despite the odds. Like the Palestinians, we had stones and rocks and burnt tyres to create smoke that could add to our gutsy public protests in the wake of state terrorism reminiscent to Israel’s current brutal annihilation of the Palestinians.

I dare say looking at apartheid Israel’s extent of brute force, brutality and butchering streak against the relatively powerless Palestinians, it all makes South African apartheid to look like it was a walk in the park … a Sunday picnic.

State terrorism is the worst form of violence against its targeted victims, ask black South Africans who were born and bred during apartheid.

It becomes rather worse and unbearable where the protagonists behind state terrorism know fully well that they are backed by powerful allies such as the US, UK and Germany, among other Western powers.

For more than 50 years, the people of Palestine have lived in hope that through the United Nation channels, their blatant plight could be put on the regular agenda and the resolution endorsing the two-state solution enforced.

But, alas, it was never to be. Instead, Israeli settlements had mushroomed to the door-step of Palestinian homes.

Like during apartheid South Africa when white people were a law unto themselves in their relation to their black counterparts, the same is happening in Palestine. Israeli settlers randomly beat up Palestinians that they displace willy-nilly, frequently killing many – with impunity.

The restrictions in the movement of the Palestinians by the Israelites, be they in government or civilian, is reminiscent of apartheid South Africa’s Group Areas Act where black people needed permits to move from one town to the other.

The 16-year-old blockade of Gaza strip is one of the modern-day’s most cruel practices. I dare say it is worse than apartheid in South Africa.

It resembles one huge gigantic open prison where Palestinian men, women and children languish hopelessly. It feels like the jailers threw everyone behind bars, locked the gates and the doors and threw away the keys.

In the mist of all this, the Palestinians wonder what the role of the UN in geopolitics is. It feels that to be poor and stateless is no one’s concern.

The people of Palestine correctly feel all alone. Abandoned by all civilization. The daily sufferings that the Palestinian people have endured for decades fail to make headlines in the heavily embedded global media.

Yet, in the same vein, the death of one Israeli settler at the hands of a Palestinian is regarded as one death too many. Quite clearly, the value placed on the Israeli and Palestinian lives is unequal.

Palestinian lives appear valueless. Israeli lives are like royalty. The desperation has given rise to Hamas movement that has won democratic elections to control the Gaza strip.

Young Palestinians who are born and bred under the yoke of apartheid Israeli oppression know all too well that freedom is a birth right they’ve never had, and seemingly never will.

They are born into injustice, grow up angry and reach adulthood with little or no hope at all. Their leaders have attempted – decade after decade – to plead their case for a two-state solution but to no avail.

From Yasser Arafat to Mahmoud Abbas, the appeal for a Palestinian statehood is a goal Israel, with the backing of the US and western allies are determined to keep illusive.

The hunger and desire for freedom, according to the co-oppressors of the Palestinian people in Washington, London and Berlin, must remain a bridge too far.

Yet such an injustice cannot thrive perpetually unchallenged. A people without rights, privileges and hope reach a point where they have nothing to lose.

They resolve to fight fire with fire, despite unequal strength and might. Hammas and the Palestinian people have grown so desperate that they have had to do something that will compel the international community to place on the agenda their oppression.

Israeli can respond to the “provocation” with unmatched firepower. As Peter Gabriel poignantly captures it well in his resistance song, (Steve) Biko: “You can blow out a candle, but you can’t blow out a fire. Once the flames begin to catch, the wind will blow it higher.”

Israeli Defence Force soldiers – armed to the teeth thanks to the US – are currently on a mission to obliterate the entire Gaza strip, a part of Palestine that is home to 2.3 million people.

They are bombing the place indiscriminately, killing anything that moves. In the domineering international relations discourse over the Israeli-Palestine conflict, the embedded Western media outlets are depicting the Palestinians as cruel savages with no legitimate demand for statehood.

Aided by the woefully and disappointing bias comments of the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Hamas and Palestinians must pay the price for making Israel upset.

There is no talk of the UN resolution calling for a two-state solution from the mouth of the secretary general who should be seen to be fair in the discharge of his duties.

The Israelites and their allies are all too foolish to belief that their military power will shut up the Palestinians involved in their liberation struggle.

It doesn’t matter how long it takes, but Palestine shall be free. In the meantime, for as long as Palestine is not free, Israel shall know no peace.

The logic is similar to the rich who throw away their left-overs in dustbins whilst surrounded by a sea of impoverished lot that goes to bed on empty stomachs.

Inequality, injustice and arrogance breed unstoppable resistance, and contempt. Israel’s collective punishment of the Palestinians, the indiscriminate bombing of densely-populated buildings, stopping the supply of water, electricity and fuel to Gaza, endangering the entire population deliberately as revenge for Hamas’s rare spectacular attacks on Israel – the world is watching.

The US has rapidly deployed the world’s largest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R Ford in the eastern Mediterranean in an attempt to intimidate pro-Palestinian regional powers.

Meanwhile Israel, buoyed by Washington’s show of military muscle, is preparing a ground attack on Gaza strip and has ordered an entire population of 1.1 million to flee their homes within 24 hours.

At the same time, Israel has blockaded Gaza strip, and not even a humanitarian corridor is open for innocent civilians to flee.

The powerful nations of the world, led by the US, could remain arrogant in their unconditional material support for Israel. However, they better bear in mind: someday the people of Palestine shall break free from their shackles of oppression.

Just ask the ANC in South Africa. Sooner rather than later the arrogant regimes in the West that tows the line of the US foreign policy will be kicked out of power by their own voters.

The people’s power shall prevail. Thanks to technology, the brutality of the Israeli forces against the people of Palestine can longer be hidden.

Social media is abuzz with the suffering of children and their mothers in the ensuing bombardment of Palestinian territories. Evil can never prosper eternally.

For the Palestinians, I truly believe that the ordinary peoples of the globalized international world order will ensure that their suffering must come to an end, and their State of Palestine with satisfactory borders established side-by-side with a post-apartheid Israel.