Civil society and religious bodies in South Africa have given their full backing for a special sitting of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP), expected to convene later this morning. Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) president Maulana Ihsaan Hendricks, said the ulema body remains committed to the principles of the Russell Tribunal, a people’s tribunal created by a large group of citizens involved in the promotion of peace and justice in the Middle East.
In this regard, the Al-Quds Foundation of South Africa, will be providing the airfare for prominent anti-apartheid activist, Terry Crawford-Browne, to deliver a paper on banking sanctions against the Apartheid State of Israel at the extraordinary session of the RToP.
The recent Israeli bombardment of Gaza prompted the United Nations Human Rights Council on 23 July 2014 to establish a commission of inquiry on Israeli war crimes. Similarly, the RToP has now decided to establish an extra, extraordinary session to be held in Brussels during 24 and 25 September 2014 to investigate the implications of the latest Israeli war crimes in Gaza.
An informal working group composed of the jury, the legal experts, the core team as well as many patrons and local and national organisers has operated throughout the history of the RtoP. Its findings and recommendations provide both an important legal basis and a strategic direction for further support for the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people.
According to Crawford-Browne, just as the campaign against apartheid was driven by international civil society, so too it is now imperative for civil society to apply pressure upon EU governments to meet their obligations in respect of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In his message of thanks to the MJC and the Al-Quds Foundation (SA), Terry Crawford-Browne, who is also a prominent Anglican, said it was critical to show interreligious solidarity in the Palestinian struggle.
“Religion has been so abused in an effort to disguise Israeli theft of Palestinian land, water and other natural resources. As apartheid in South Africa was abhorrent to Christianity, so apartheid in Israel-Palestine is abhorrent to Judaism. Attempts to portray the Palestinian struggle as a clash of civilizations between Muslims and Jews are most especially repugnant, and it is time we of the three Abrahamic faiths followed our common commitments to salam, shalom and peace,” he said.
Anyone interested in attending the Brussels Tribunal should visit the RToP website: http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com/en/, which gives details of the previous sessions in Barcelona, London, Cape Town, New York and Brussels from 2010 to 2013. VOC