Masses of people descended on the CBD today for a protest to Parliament in solidarity with Gaza. VOC News reporters estimate that more than 20 000 people are participating in the march and there is a sense of organised chaos.
At Parliament, Sheikh Ebrahim Gabriels; the Palestinian ambassador to South Africa, Abdul Hafiz Nofal; ANC Youth League’s Braam Hanekom; Cosatu’s Tony Ehrenreich; activists Zahid Asmal and Terry Crawford-Browne; MJC secretary general Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie and Sheikh Thaafir Najaar were amongst the many speakers to address the crowd.
Below is a copy of the memorandum to be handed to the SA Government:
MEMORANDUM TO THE SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT FROMTHE MUSLIM JUDICIAL COUNCIL (SA) AND PALESTINE SOLIDARITY GROUPS WHO STAND TOGETHER FOR JUSTICE IN GAZA
Chairperson of Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Co-operation
Attention: Honorable Sipho Masango
16 JULY 2014
We, on behalf of the following organizations – African National Congress, Al Quds Foundation, ANC Youth League, ANC, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (SA), Cosatu, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Kairos SA, Media Review Network (MRN), Muslim Judicial Council (SA), NEHAWU, Palestinian National Alliance, Palestinian Solidarity Alliance, Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, UCT Palestine Solidarity Forum, who represent the free citizens of South Africa and the world, stand here in solidarity and in support of justice, equality and freedom and in the strongest opposition to the most appalling atrocities perpetrated by the Israelis upon the people of Palestine. As people of South Africa and Africa, we add value to the international human rights standards. We stand here before our government, to express our outrage, at Israel, its supporters, its justifiers and their military media arm for their relentless bombing and killing of the peaceful people of Palestine.
Since 1948, when Palestine was handed over to a group of Zionist Jews by Britain who had no mandate from the Palestinians, the indigenous people of Palestine have suffered under the brutal, murderous Israeli occupation force. The very nature of an occupation is that it is violent and uses the dominant hand of a lawless military machine to subject and subjugate the indigenous people in order to confine them to a small, vulnerable enclave, surrounded by high walls and intimidating checkpoints. This is the harsh reality of Gaza today where the majority of those killed in the last few days were women and children. Within these enclaves also known as an open air prison, people are humiliated, degraded and deprived of basic human rights and medical care.
The Israeli regime has unashamedly and without conscience boldly taken up arms against a defenseless occupied and oppressed people who live in a permanent state of siege and are subjected to constant bombardment with the wide array of weapons of mass destruction. As the most powerful military settlement state in the region, their barbaric deeds have continued relentlessly and deepened the severe humanitarian crisis which the Palestinians find themselves in.
This extreme violation of human dignity, fraternity and liberty HAS NOT thus far been condemned strongly enough to ensure that strong action against Apartheid Israel is implemented which will ensure that Israel abides by international law. Until such action is taken against the lawless behavior of Israel, it will continue with its military actions against the poorly armed resisters.
Since the 2nd Intifada 13 000 Palestinians have lost their lives, the equivalent of 1 person every 3 days. During the past 8 days, 195 have been murdered and 1 900 have been seriously injured which include children, women, elderly and the disabled.
• Israel has occupied and colonized Palestine through expansion policies designed to rid the land of its indigenous people, the Palestinians.
• Israel has used their military, helicopter-fired missiles, F16’s, tanks and explosive devices on civilians in their homes that have killed 195 Palestinians, wounded 1 900 and traumatized the entire nation;
• Collective punishment of the Palestinian people, long a practice of the Israeli government, is unacceptable and inhuman and is regularly used by Israel during their raids on civilians instead of seeking political solutions.
• Disproportionate response to the rockets fired from Gaza into Israel,
• Israeli offensive has deepened the severe humanitarian crisis and suffering of the people of Gaza, with no intention by them to bring about a peaceful solution;
• Since the siege on Gaza the social and economic situation in the Gaza Strip is at its worst in 40 years,
• 80% of Gaza’s 1.5 million people depend on food aid and 40% are unemployed.
• Spare parts for hospitals, water purification cannot be imported and hospitals cannot keep lifesaving equipment working,
AND as we stand here today, we are addressing the most sovereign seat of the government of the Republic of South Africa and we say to them that we acknowledge the efforts you have made in creating a greater awareness of the plight of the Palestinians and your condemnation of Israeli violation of human rights and international law. BUT, WE ASK YOU: “ARE YOU DOING ENOUGH?”
We implore our government and all countries, human rights groups, anti-war groups to voice their strong international vote of no confidence against these oppressors of justice.
WE THEREFORE CALL ON OUR GOVERNMENT TO:
1 Recall the SA Ambassador to Israel with immediate effect;
2 Close down Israeli Embassy in SA;
3 Cut all Trade Relations with Israel;
4. Boycott Israeli banks and campaign internationally to apply SWIFT sanctions to Israel, its banks and all commercial and business entities by removing it from the international SWIFT banking system.
5. Use SA’s position to urge the United Nations Security Council to authorize the establishment of an international observer mission to monitor and report on continuing human rights and international humanitarian law violations in the West Bank and Gaza;
6. Meet with the solidarity groups within 14 days from the date of the memorandum;
7. Incorporate the text and standards contained in the December 2001 Declaration of the reconvened conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention.
This memorandum was handed over to the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the URGENT attention and response from the President of South Africa, Mr. Jacob Zuma, on the 16 JULY 2014.
Signed and supported by:
Coalition for Palestine namely:
African National Congress
Al Quds Foundation (SA)
ANC Youth League
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (SA)
Media Review Network
Muslim Judicial Council (SA)
Palestinian National Alliance
Palestinian Solidarity Alliance
Palestinian Solidarity Campaign
UCT Palestine Solidarity Forum