Issued by the Coalition for a Free Palestine
3 June 2010
The Coalition for a Free Palestine, as well as numerous Palestinians and Palestinian civil society organisations that we are in touch with, welcome the announcement by South Africa’s Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ebrahim Ebrahim, of the recall of South Africa’s ambassador from Tel Aviv. The action was taken in protest against Israel’s murderous attack on unarmed civilians in an aid flotilla sailing in international waters.
The recall by the South African government – as well as similar actions by other countries such as Sweden, Spain and Turkey – are an indication to the Apartheid Israeli regime that the world is no longer willing to tolerate its brutal impunity and terrorism. The regime’s repeated violations of international law and United Nations resolutions make a mockery of the notion of international law. That it has not, for the past six decades, been forced to comply with the decisions of the international community in respect of its gross human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity is a serious blight on the members of the United Nations. Even when Israel attacked unarmed civilians in open waters, the United Nations Security Council could only issue a presidential statement which did not even condemn Israel for its piracy.
Deputy Minister Ebrahim’s comments today are the clearest indication that South Africa’s patience with the Israeli regime is running out. As President Zuma indicated in a radio interview yesterday that if any other country had undertaken action like the attack on the aid flotilla except for Israel it would be regarded as a pariah. We call on local people of Jewish faith not to allow the South African Zionist Federation to speak on their behalf, by attempting to obscure the truth with outright lies and hopeful fables. No excuses, no lies, no attempts at obscuring the truth will fool the people of the world.
We are appreciative of the actions of our government over the past four days in expressing condemnation of Israel, issuing the Israeli ambassador with a demarche, recalling our ambassador from Israel, and the genuine concern and comfort they have extended to both Khadija Davids and her family.
Nevertheless, as appreciative as we are, we still remain committed in calling on our government to:
1. Expel the Israeli ambassador from South Africa;
2. Break all diplomatic ties with Israel;
3. Cut all economic and trade ties with Israel, in response to the call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions from over 200 Palestinian organisations;
4. Shut down Mossad and Shin Bet operations and terminating the business dealings of El Al Airlines in South Africa;
5. Actively promote an academic boycott of Israel by ensuring that all academic links with Israel by our tertiary institutions and research organisations are severed immediately;
6. Prosecute all South African citizens who serve in the Israeli armed forces, as is required by the Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act, and;
7. Ensure that Israeli war criminals will be prosecuted if they enter South Africa – as is South Africa’s obligation under the Rome Statute.
South Africans will not be fooled by the lies that are now being told by the South African Zionist Federation on behalf of the Israeli apartheid state and on behalf of the Israeli military which was responsible for the heinous crimes on Monday. As a country that has experienced the Sharpeville, June 16th, Langa, and many other apartheid massacres, we have heard all these lies and guilt-soothing excuses – heavily armed soldiers fearing for their lives from activists wielding knives, or stones, or slings, etc. We did not believe the apartheid regime then; South Africans will not believe these recycled lies today.
We demand that the Egyptian government keeps the Rafah Crossing open indefinitely to allow free access to and the Gaza strip.
We commit ourselves to mobilise our trade union members to organise active campaigns to isolate Israel by refusing to handle goods to and from Israel. In this regard, we salute the workers of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union who today decided that, in the light of Israeli piracy, they will not allow any Israeli ship to unload goods at South African ports.
Activities around the country will continue in protest against Israel and its murderous actions. A mass protest rally will take place in Soweto on Saturday at the well-known protest venue, Uncle Tom’s Hall and the campaign to deepen the South African boycotts, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel will be intensified.
For more information, please call:
Tahir Sema (South African Municipal Workers’ Union): 082 940 3403
Salim Vally (Palestine Solidarity Committee): 082 802 5936
Igsaan Hendricks (Muslim Judicial Council): 083 384 6973
Naazim Adam (Palestine Solidarity Alliance): 082 336 6711
Mercia Andrews (Palestine Solidarity Group): 082 368 3429
This cfp initiative is endorsed by:
South African Council of Churches
South African Communist Party
Palestine Solidarity Committee
Palestine Solidarity Group
Palestine Solidarity Alliance
South African Municipal Workers’ Union
Media Review Network
Muslim Judicial Council
Muslim Youth Movement
Open Shuhada Street