As the Muslim Judicial Council prepares of a mass march to Parliament next week, a handful of pro-Palestinian activists picketed in Wale Street in Cape Town on Friday afternoon, in response to President Donald Trump’s announcement on Wednesday evening that the United States is recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In a decision that has seen widespread condemnation, Trump said he also intends to move its embassy from Tel Aviv. His pronounced has been universally condemned as illegal in terms of numerous decisions of the UN Security Council as well as under international treaties including the Geneva Conventions.
In South Africa, there has been a chorus of condemnation against Trump’s decision, with the ANC slamming it as “blatantly provocative” and a “significant setback to a fragile and already stalled peace process”
Speaking to VOC News outside the St Georges Cathedral in Cape Town, protestors said Trump’s move will legitimise Zionism and the illegal occupation of Palestine.
“That Zionism is a form of apartheid and that Israel is an apartheid state that repeatedly commits war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against the Palestinian people is now thoroughly documented,” said picket organiser Terry Crawford-Browne.
“The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court confirms apartheid to be a crime against humanity, and legal authorities now also increasingly concur that Israeli government conduct towards Palestinians meets the legal criteria of genocide.
“South Africa’s own liberation from the system of apartheid was a consequence of international solidarity, especially banking sanctions, with our struggle against racial oppression. President Nelson Mandela famously declared that South Africans would not be truly free until Palestinians are free.”
With Egypt and Israel having fostered better relations and security cooperation over the past few years, some Egyptian activists called out President Abdel Fatah el Sisi’s ‘betrayal’ of the Palestinians.
“We know that Abdel Fatah el Sisi agrees with whatever Israel is doing. We know that he is obeying the commands of America’s Israel,” said Egyptian expat, Ahmed Mushtawy.
Trump’s move is concerning for the future of the apartheid project of Israel, said a UCT activist who forms part of the Palestine Solidarity Forum.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign is calling upon the South African government and AU to take the international lead at the United Nations, the European Union and other organisations to implement suspension of international financial transactions to and from Israeli banks until the Israeli government agrees:
1. To release immediately all Palestinian political prisoners,
2. To end its occupation of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza, and that it will dismantle the “apartheid wall,”
3. To recognize the fundamental rights of Arab-Palestinians to full equality in Israel-Palestine, and
4. To acknowledge the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
The PSC has urged Capetonians of all communities – particularly Christians and Jews as well as Muslims — to demonstrate their commitments to universal human rights as enshrined in the Constitution.
The MJC march takes place on Wednesday 13th December from Keizergracht to Parliament. VOC