In a rare display of unity, several South African political parties have condemned Israel’s intentions to annex more than 30 percent of Palestinian land, as part of a plan announced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in late January. The parties have collectively called on governments around the globe to take action against the Zionist state, including the implementation of sanctions.
The African National Congress (ANC), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) , GOOD, National freedom Party (NFP) and Al-Jamah were hosted by the Africa4Palestinian movement in Cape Town on Wednesday to address the media over the matter. Many of the parties addressed the conference virtually.
Part of the Israeli plan is to annex illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, including parts of the strategic Jordan Valley, considered as illegal under international law. The region holds key agricultural land and water resources, of which there are fears the Palestinians would be deprived of.
South African parties expressed solidarity with the plight of the Palestinian people emphasising the similarities between their ongoing human rights violations and that of South Africans during Apartheid. Several relevant parties have also termed the annexation as “Apartheid”.
At the briefing in Cape Town on Wednesday, the ANC’s Mduduzi Manana stated that the South African government has long been in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and that it is vested in the freedom of all oppressed people. Manana noted that government had resolved to downgrade the South African embassy in Israel to a liaison office level, in 2017. He adds that punitive measures need to be taken to exert more pressure on Israel through heightened social and economic sanctions.
“As the ANC we condemn this action and will rally behind every civil society grouping, other political parties in the world, peace-loving people to try and stop this unlawful action,” he said.
“We are against any form of violation of human rights and we feel what Israel is doing, they’re continuing in actions to settle on land that does not belong to them- it is a violation of human rights and international law and they have to be stopped,” he added.
“We must act now. If we don’t then Morocco and other belligerent states will take their cue from Apartheid Israel,” he said.
Africa for Palestine – Multi-Press Conference
Posted by Africa For Palestine on Wednesday, 1 July 2020
The NFP’s Manzoor Sheik-Emam highlighted that the Israeli government was among those that were in support of the Apartheid regime in South Africa, noting that citizens can relate to being dispossessed of what is rightfully theirs. Sheik-Emam was encouraged by the unity of political parties and faith-based institutions over the issue.
He added that international law-abiding countries should collectively implement stringent sanctions, to avoid Palestine becoming another victim to United States abuse of power. Unless the United States’ actions are challenged, he said, there will never be world peace.
“Law-abiding countries must come together and stop this oppression, manipulation and control that a few countries, like the United States and the State of Israel, is intending to impose on smaller countries,” he said.
“We need to rally together with civil society and organisations internationally, so this can gain momentum. If we do not stop what is going on today, rest assured that Israel will be a system of the United States of America which would eventually annex the entire Palestinian area,” warned Sheikh.
In a statement by GOOD Party’s Brett Herron, the party drew attention to issues South Africans could relate to such as the “racial and social division, land conquest, inequality, gross violation of human rights and societal militarisation”. It was expressed that the party supports a peacefully-negotiated two-state solution “which enables the people of Palestine and Isreal to live side by side in mutual respect in an autonomous state.
“GOOD believes in the rule of law applied equally to people of all nations, when people of nations do not comply with the law. Be it in Africa, America or the Middle East, the UN’s powers must be reigned in and hold them to account.”
“In a globalized world battling a viral pandemic, which doesn’t comply with border restrictions and radical climate events already occurring due to climate change, accountability is essential for collective sustainability.”
The EFF’s Nazier Paulsen had also urged the government to sever trade and diplomatic ties with Israel and have called on the UN to convene an urgent meeting of the Security Council over it’s “brazen act of thuggery”:
“We call on the South African Government, the African Union and members of United Nations to show their displeasure against this blatant act of aggression. AU members must demand an urgent meeting of the security council because this act of terror will incentivise acts of retaliation. It is a threat to international peace,” he said.
Al Jamaah also called on African countries to reject resources provided by Israel at the expense of the indigenous people, the Palestinians. The parties are expected to release a joint statement later on Wednesday.
The United Nations, European Union, key Arab countries and the African Union noted with concern that the Israeli annexation would violate international law and forfeit hopes of establishing an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. The two-state solution as proposed by the Palestinian Authority outright rejected US President Donald Trump’s so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ in late January, which also proposed the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state on a patchwork of disjointed parts of the Palestinian territories.
According to Al Jazeera; Jordan is one of only two Arab nations that have diplomatic ties with Israel and has warned that annexation could trigger a “massive conflict” and has not ruled out reviewing its 1994 peace treaty with Israel. Hamas, which administers the besieged Gaza Strip, also stated that Israeli annexations in the West Bank would be a “declaration of war”.
In a statement by Israel’s foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi, it was revealed that an announcement on the planned annexation would not be made on Wednesday as expected.