By Ragheema Mclean
The Fifth Global Convention of Solidarity with Palestine concluded its three-day conference in Johannesburg on Tuesday, where delegates from various countries gathered to address the issues facing Palestine.
The convention was organized by the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine and the Royal House of Mandela where they also commemorated the 10th anniversary of the campaign’s launch and the death of former president Nelson Mandela.
In attendance were several humanitarian groups, academics, members of parliament, politicians as well as two members of the Hamas delegation.
The delegation included politburo member Bassem Naim, Hamas representative in Iran Khaled Qaddoumi and Hamas representative in East, Central and Southern Africa Emad Saber.
Speaking on the VOC Breakfast show on Wednesday, Professor at the University of Johannesburg Department of Sociology, Patrick Bond gave a rundown of some of the topics that were discussed.
Bond noted that a key moment during the conference was when tribal chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council and Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Mandla Mandela called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to abandon the Bantu stance on the issue of Palestine.
Mandla Mandela said:
“We want to call on his excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa to abandon the thoughts of Bantu stance to Palestine, abandon separate development, racism, and apartheid in occupying Palestine. Palestine should be free from the river to the see.”
Bond noted this refers to the South African government’s standpoint on a two state-solution for Palestine and Israel.
“He said they will not rest until victory falls on the people of Palestine.”
Bond noted that it would be interesting to see whether Mandla Mandela’s challenge to President Ramphosa would be sustained.
He further elaborated, “Ramaphosa is under extraordinary pressure from various stakeholders, this includes the US imperial as well several local forces.”
“Local forces can refer to Israel lobbyists and people that are pro-Israel that are applying pressure.”
Bond argued, “If Ramaphosa was really carrying out the will of the ANC, who have had this great and strong will of Palestinian support, he would not only have long ago kicked out the Israeli ambassador and close the embassy, but also would have gone further than appealing to the ICC.”
He continued, “He would’ve gone to the genocide convention, he would have gone for much stronger consequences for the Israeli government.”
Meanwhile, Bond further highlighted the importance of showing solidarity with the people of Palestine, especially in counties like the United States.
To date, over 16,000 people, women and children included, have been killed in Gaza since Israeli military started bombing the area.
Bond said that the tides were changing regarding the public’s perception on the situation in Palestine.
“More than half of young people feel that October 7th was justified given the history of the Israeli oppression.”
“There’s been an extraordinary swing, people are waking up and understanding that occupied or settler colonials cannot stand.”