From the news desk

Gaza unity in the spotlight at conference

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The United Muslim Nation Organization (UMNO) hosted a Gaza Crisis Conference in Johannesburg on Saturday, in a bid to strategize a collective effort towards relief and activism for the troubled strip. The event was attended by representatives of the countries numerous NGO’s and solidarity movements, as well as those from the ANC and Cosatu.

The conference was described as a major eye-opener by UMNO founder, Salman Khan. He noted a common theme amongst many of the speakers, many of whom emphasized a lack of unity amongst themselves. According to Khan, most agreed that a collective and coordinated effort was vital towards addressing the Palestinian issue.

The conference was also attended by the Palestinian ambassador to South Africa, Adel Hafiz Nofel, who also called for unity amongst the various NGOs.

“The Palestinian ambassador made a passionate appeal to all the Muslim organizations not to compete against each other,” said Khan.

The ambassador was quoted as saying that that there was an urgent need for a centralized system, whereby all funds collected by the various NGOs could go. This was due to a lack of knowledge on how much money was being raised for relief, and how those funds were being used.

He called for the formation of a solitary platform with all NGOs, which would allow all to be aware of what the most urgent needs in Palestine were at that very moment.

Amongst the suggestions that were leveled was the formation of a centralized Gaza relief fund, of which all NGOs would be a signatory of.

“There was definitely an urge to coordinate and unite the efforts so that it can be forceful. Otherwise there is going to be too much of a fragmentation, and things are not going to move,” he said.

Cosatu was present at the event, represented by their international relations secretary, Bongani Masuku. According to Khan, Masuku had chosen to reaffirm the trade union’s commitment to the boycott of Israeli goods.

Furthermore, he agreed that Cosatu would propose a notion at the next conference of the World Federation of Trade Unions, for all labour unions around the world to take a similar stance.

“If they can take this (to the World Federation of Trade Unions), that will be the biggest achievement we can ever had,” he said.

For more information on Saturday’s meeting, you can contact Salman Khan on 082 691 6048, or via email at VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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