The Palestinian struggle for self-determination and Israel’s on-going occupation will be under the spotlight this week, as a delegation of Palestinian activists visit Cape Town. The activists are guests of South African Jews for Free Palestine (SAJFP), an organisation of South African Jews wishing to see a just resolution to the conflict in historic Palestine. VOC listeners can tune into Drivetime on Monday at 17.10pm for an in-studio chat with this delegation.
Their visit stems from a trip undertaken by a South African group in May 2015 to the South Africa Forest in Galilee, in present day Israel. The forest- which is planted through donations to the Jewish National Fund (JNF) – covers the Palestinian village of Lubya.
The visit included a ceremony where South African Jews pledged that they did not know the forest was on the ruins of Lubya, with over 200 pledges handed over. This ceremony deeply touched those from Lubya and Zochrot. It also brought into sharp focus the situation Palestinian citizens face, whether living inside Israel borders, the Occupied West Bank and Gaza and living as refugees across the world, as millions do.
This week, SAJFP is hosting representatives from Adrid, (advocates for the rights of Palestinians displaced inside Israel/Palestine), including someone born in Lubya, Zochrot (an Israeli NGO raising awareness about the Nakba in the Jewish Israeli public to create conditions for the return of Palestinian refugees and a shared, democratic life in Israel) and Adalah (dedicated to researching and lobbying for full civil rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel).
The representatives will be holding several meetings with the general public in Johannesburg and Cape Town from 29 August to 6 September. They will also meet government officials and other political parties as well as interested groups who are committed to a just resolution of the conflict.
“The parallels with South Africa’s own past of settler colonial domination and dispossession is striking and this will be a rare opportunity to hear the history of Palestinian efforts to recover their lost homes and lands in the face of ever tightening Israeli control as well as their vision for the future,” said the SAJFP in a statement.
“Given the important role played by the global anti- Apartheid movement in pressurising the Afrikaner Nationalist government to enter into negotiations for a dismantling of that system, this will also be an opportunity for South Africans to engage with Palestinian activists and discuss the best ways in which we can offer support for their struggle against occupation and dispossession.”
In Cape Town, the SAJFP is hosting a public seminar co-hosted with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign on Monday 5 September at the District Museum. The delegates will address the historical and ongoing dispossession of the Palestinians from the destruction of Lubya to current land evictions in the Naqab desert, the role that the JNF plays and the special features of the Israeli settler colonial land regime.
There will also be a screening of the 2013 film, The Village Under the Forest, which exposed how the Jewish National Fund’s South Africa Forest had been planted over the ruins of Lubya, a Palestinian village destroyed in the 1948 Nakba. This forest was visited by the South African Jewish activists last year.
The event takes place on Monday 5 September at the District Six Musleum in Buitenkant street from 7pm to 9pm. VOC