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Coalition launches Gaza petition

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Following a memorandum of demands to the South African government on Monday, the National Coalition for Palestine (NC4P), a collective of Palestinian solidarity groups, have launched an online petition im support of Gaza. The petition aims to lobby the South African Parliament, Minister of International Relations and President Jacob Zuma to end relations with the state of Israel. The petition can be found at Change.org, a leading online platform for social change.

The petition echoes the memorandum in calling for the South African Parliament to debate the current war on the people of Gaza by the Apartheid Israeli regime and adopt a resolution to condemn the attacks. It further calls for the termination of diplomatic relations with the State of Israel.

According to the NC4P, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation msut implement the various relevant resolutions formally adopted by the ANC Parliamentary Caucus, the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, the ANC Youth League and the South African Communist Party to recall the South African Ambassador to Israel and to ask Arthur Lenk, Israel’s Ambassador to Pretoria, to return to where he comes from.

The advocacy group feel the South African Government must give concrete expressions to the numerous calls from civil society, the trade unions, religious and community leaders – including more than 100 Jewish leaders – to end South Africa’s military agreement and all economic relations with the State of Israel.

“The gap between what civil society and the ruling party proclaim and demand on the one hand and what the government does and appears to be prepared to do, on the other is far too wide. We expected an elected government to listen to the voice of the people,” said the NC4P.

“We expect a government whose members are deployed to their positions by a specific party to heed the voice of that party – not lobbies for a foreign government – even these lobbies masquerade as the representatives of a specific religious group.”

Thus far, the petition has only garnered over 2000 signatures, but the coalition is hoping more South Africans will latch onto the cause. Click here to sign the petition: http://t.co/mTDm5nCSZi

At the same time, a group called South African Jews Against the War in Gaza have launched a petition urging the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to end the military bombardment of Gaza.

“We are proudly Jewish. We know that every human being is invested with inherent dignity, every life equal. Just as we resist anti-semitism, we refuse to dehumanise Palestinians in order to make their deaths lighter on our collective conscience. We sign this statement in order to affirm their humanity and our own,” the group stated on Change.org.

The lobby group has distanced itself from South African Jewish organisations supporting Israel’s military action on innocent civilians.

“We hope for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the death and destruction. Beyond that we believe that the way forward must involve Israel lifting the blockade of Gaza, ending the occupation of the West Bank and fully complying with international law. Attacks on Israeli civilians and rockets fired into Israeli towns must stop; these are illegal, counterproductive and wrong,” the online statement reads.

“We may well wish that Palestinians chose leaders other than Hamas, but we recognise that they have every right to make this choice, and Israel will need to do the same. We also hope for an Israeli government committed to achieving peace.” VOC


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