Johannesburg - On Friday, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) once again showed its solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine.
Members of the union marched to the Israeli Embassy in Pretoria to demand that “the apartheid system, which has been imposed by the Israeli government on the people of Palestine, come to an end”.
The march also sought to make demands for the removal of the Israeli Embassy in South Africa. It was spearheaded by the union and its members from the Hlanganani region.
"We also demand that every square inch of land that has been unlawfully occupied by the racist, tyrannical apartheid state of Israel be returned to the people of Palestine," Numsa said.
In a statement, Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said this was in line with highlighting the plight of the people who have been subjected to violence and the forceful occupation of their land.
"Our members in the Hlanganani region held the march to highlight the ongoing crisis of the daily violation of human rights by apartheid Israel against the Palestinian people. Numsa is not confused, and we will not allow ourselves to be misled by the propaganda of the Israeli government.
"We have noted how the Israeli government is attempting to whitewash the daily brutality that it unleashes on the people of Palestine, and we think it is our responsibility to remind the public that no amount of PR will wash their hands clean of the stench of Palestinian blood. The Israeli government is shameless in its brutality and violence against the innocent people of Palestine, and we will continue to loudly condemn them for their disgusting, unforgivable actions," Jim said.
Numsa says it cannot sit idle while the people of Palestine suffer atrocities and brutality.
"It is Numsa’s view that Israel should be treated like the pariah that it is because it is unapologetic for its illegal occupation of Palestine.
"The apartheid state of Israel has institutionalised torture, terror, and brutality against the Palestinian population for generations. Every single day, children are detained, elderly and young people are killed, and the daily movements of all people are controlled 24 hours a day. The people of Palestine are living in what are called open-air prisons," he said.
Jim said that, according to a report to the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner published in July 2023, since 1967, more than 800 000 Palestinians, including children as young as 12, have been arrested and detained under authoritarian rules enacted, enforced, and adjudicated by the Israeli military.
He said that Palestinians are subject to long detention for expressing opinions, gathering information, making unauthorised political speeches, or even merely attempting to do so, and were ultimately deprived of their status as protected civilians. The people of Palestine are often presumed guilty without evidence, arrested without warrants, detained without charge or trial, and brutalised in Israeli custody.
"We demand an immediate end to the unlawful occupation by Israel of Palestinian territory. We demand an immediate end to the violence and the killings, the daily detention of innocent Palestinians, and the removal of the Israel Embassy and its ambassador from our soil and our country.
"Numsa has consistently raised these demands for years in order to advance the agenda of the working class in Palestine. They need our consistent support, and we have a revolutionary duty to defend them," Jim said.