Palestine solidarity movements are hoping to reignite the epic Gaza demonstration in 2014 with a mass protest action on the 15th May, known as Nakba day. Nakba Day marks the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their home land, which lead to the creation of the Zionist state of Israel. The public action will be led jointly by the ANC and Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) together with other organizations in protest against Israel’s recent killing of innocent Palestinians in Gaza including youth and journalists.
Since Friday 30th March, Israel has killed over 30 and injured more than 1500 Palestinians who have been participating in a nonviolent protest called the Great Return March – a six week series of demonstrations taking place, primarily every Friday, along the border of Gaza and Israel. Over 75% of the Palestinian people living in Gaza are refugees whose homes are in Israel. The UN has demanded that Israel allow the Palestinians refugees to return but Israel has refused.
Addressing journalists at a press conference, ANC provincial secretary Faeez Jacobs said they condemned the violence in the “strongest possible terms”. He said the ANC, the MJC and the National coalition for Palestine (NC4P) met last week to discuss the “growing anger” against the increasing violence from the Israeli regime and the clamp down on the protesters participating in the right of return demonstrations.
“The Great Return March is an act of celebrating life instead of succumbing to oppression. Since Good Friday, Palestinians have gathered as promised in a non-violent and peaceful protest along the Gaza border but Israeli snipers started shooting at the protesters and turned the day into Bloody Friday,. On that day alone, Israeli snipers shot dead 16 Palestinians including teenagers and injured over 1500 civilians including more than 150 children under the age of 16, leaving many people disabled,” said Jacobs.
Jacobs added that the Great Return March was a means to celebrate the spirit of resistance, akin to that displayed by oppressed South Africans during apartheid.
“Palestinians are finding creative ways and means of resisting an illegal Israeli occupation and apartheid regime. Instead of dying in silence, Palestinians have decided to march for life. It is a protest of the people who want nothing more than to live in dignity and with full freedom.”
The Anc Western Cape, the Muslim Judicial Council – SA and the National Coalition 4 Palestine #NC4P held a joint media briefing this morning. The groups announced a planned mass action in protest against the killing and injury of protestors on the border of the Gaza Strip in the Great Return March. Thirty people were killed since the protest began on March 30. The march is scheduled to take place on May 15, 2018, the 70th anniversary of the Nakba. The MJC’s Maulana Khaliq Allie and the ANC’s @Faiez Jacobs has urged Capetonians to support Palestinians in their fight for self determination.
Posted by Voice of the Cape Radio – VOC on Wednesday, 18 April 2018
The organisation believes South Africans should play a leading role in giving support to the Palestinians who were at the forefront of the international movement against apartheid.
“We are gathered here not to do a favour for the Palestinians but also as part of our revolutionary duty. We have a strong slogan which says ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’ and the solidarity amongst the people of the world is a cardinal principal that the ANC prides itself on. The Gaza strip has been described by Archbishop Desmond Tutu as an open air prison camp where Israelis control what, who and what is allowed to go in and out and who is allowed to come in and out in that area. It is the world’s most densely populated piece of land, 25 metres by 6 kilometres with over 2 million people in an area of human suffering. Over 75% of the Palestinian people living in Gaza are refugees from whose homes are in Israel. This despite the UN has demanding that Israel allow the Palestinian refugees to return, which Israel has refused,” said Jacobs.
“Palestinians are daring to dream for freedom and we are supporting them to make that dream a reality. As president Cyril Ramaphosa said over the weekend at Mama Winnie’s funeral that her spirit lives on in the Palestinian teenager [Ahed Tamimi] who refuses to stand by as she is stripped of her home, her heritage and prospects for peace.”
Muhammad Desai from BDS South Africa said they hoped to emulate the largest protest in 2014 in which over 250 000 people in Cape Town took to the streets to protest Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.
The MJC has urged the ANC to ensure its resolution to downgrade South Africa’s embassy in Israel to a liaison office is implemented. The announcement to downgrade the embassy was made at the ANC’s 54th elective conference in December.
MJC deputy president Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie said: “We want to appeal to the ANC to ensure that the resolution taken at the ANC policy conference for the downgrade of the Israeli embassy be implemented. The violations that we witness in Gaza further emphasises the rouge Israeli apartheid state. This particular resolution can no longer be delayed. The Nakbah is an ongoing daily experience by the Palestinian people.” VOC