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Activists to protest at Israeli trade office

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A range of pro-Palestinian activists have called on the SA government to speak out against Israel’s illegal practise of administrative detention. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) will picket outside the Israeli trade office in Sandton in Johannesburg on Friday afternoon, to renew the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions and to highlight the increase in trade between South Africa and apartheid Israel. The demonstration is a protest against the continuing Israeli practice of indefinite detention without trial and the detention of children.

“Currently, there are over 7000 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel; 750 of them are being held under Israel’s “administrative detention”, 350 of them are children and 7 of them are Members of Parliament. In the last 11 years alone, more than 7500 Palestinian children have been detained in Israeli prisons and detention facilities. including being held in solitary confinement,” said Allan Horwitz, a member of PSC.

The PSC with the international Palestine solidarity movement is campaigning against Israel’s detention of Palestinian children and the use of administrative detention under which political prisoners are detained without trial and frequently re-detained on the date of their release after finishing serving their sentences. Horwitz said it was a “flagrant violation of international human rights law” and the same practice used by South Africa’s apartheid state.

Recently, the Johannesburg PSC recorded a video message of solidarity for the hunger strikers in Palestine who are demanding an end to administrative detention. The video recording was aimed at highlighting Bilal Kayed’s case, a 34 year-old Palestinian, who was in his 8th week of a hunger strike.

An agreement was reached stipulating that Kayed’s administrative detention will not be renewed. Three other Palestinian prisoners, Mahmoud al-Balboul, Mohammed al-Balboul and Malik al-Qadi, remain on hunger strike in protest against their administrative detention and their health is in critical condition. They have been joined in a solidarity strike by over 50 fellow Palestinian prisoners.

As September heralds the start of the new school year in Palestine, the protest will draw attention to the alarming number of children that are detained under increasingly inhuman conditions such as solitary confinement. More than 700 Palestinian children are prosecuted each year by military courts in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

“We call on people of conscience in South Africa to join in the International Solidarity campaign. Protests have taken place in many countries. Our call includes building the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign to isolate Israel, its institutions, and multi-national corporations like G4S that profit from imprisonment, occupation, racism, colonialism and injustice. We call on our government to impose sanctions on Israel in the same way the world sanctioned our erstwhile apartheid regime,” added Horwitz.

The picket has been endorsed by a number of ex-political prisoners from all the former South African liberation movements including Sibongile Mkhabela, Raymond Suttner, Tiyani Lybon Mabasa, Zithulele Cindi, Premesh Lalu, Selby Nomnganga, Lentswe Mokgatle, Mercia Andrews, Sadecque Variava, Hanif Vally, Edwin Arrison, Sue Rabkin, Derrick Naidoo, Stephanie Kemp, Firdoze Bulbulia, Gavin Andersson, amongst others. Some ex-political prisoners and Ronnie Kasrils will be among the speakers at the picket. VOC

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