The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC) in Cape Town has strongly condemned the visits by leaders of South African opposition parties in South Africa to Israel. On Monday, photos surfaced on the Facebook page of a group called South African Friends of Israel showing Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder, COPE leader Terror Lekota, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa, ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe (ACDP) and IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi visiting Tel-Aviv as part of a study tour. The visit comes amid an uproar from the local Palestine solidarity movement over an increase in Zionist sponsored trips, aimed at painting a positive picture of life in Israel.
PSC member Terry Crawford-Browne says that these visits constitute a betrayal of South Africa’s own hard won struggle against Apartheid.
“By going on these supposed study tours they are giving legitimacy to the Israeli governments Zionist and apartheid policy,” Browne explained.
The International Criminal Court has ruled that apartheid is a crime against humanity. Within Israel itself more than 50 laws discriminate against Palestinian Israelis on basis of citizenship, land and language. Brown says that this form of discrimination was also evident during the reign of the apartheid government in South Africa.
“The Palestinians without Israeli citizenship live under military law. People’s houses are demolished, olive trees are burned and cut down,” Browne added.
‘It is like a bantustan’
So far more than 5000 Palestinian political prisoners are being held in Israeli jails and more than 1000 are being detained without trial.
Browne adds that as a result of what is happening in the country, there is no possibility for a two state solution.
“The Americans have given up on the two-state solution, the international community must put pressure on the Israeli government to recognise the Palestinians,” Browne stated.
“The two state solution is not possible, settlers live in the West Bank, Palestine as a state on its own is not economically viable”.
“Ironically it is the Zionists that have stolen Palestinian land and have prevented a two state solution,” Browne went further.
On Monday night, Israeli forces detained 13 Palestinians across the occupied West Bank and three Israeli extremists assaulted and injured an 18-year-old Palestinian in the village of Deir Yassin in western Jerusalem yesterday.
“We only hope that a peaceful solution can be found, as was the case with South Africa,” Browne concluded. VOC (Umarah Hartley)