Issued by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign
15 August 2012
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign welcomes the comments by Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim discouraging South Africans from visiting Israel.
As a member of a post-apartheid government in South Africa, the deputy minister could do no less. Israel is an apartheid state according to international law and, as the South African apartheid state was boycotted and sanctioned in the 1980s, so too must Israel suffer the same fate until they abide by international law and accede to the legitimate demands of the Palestinian people. As South Africans we oppose apartheid wherever it is found. As people who benefited from solidarity in our struggle against the crime of apartheid, we would like to give that to Palestine and Palestinians as well.
Israel is currently in violation of more than 80 United Nations Security Council resolutions; it continues to build settlements in the West Bank (including Jerusalem) in violation of international law; has implemented over 600 checkpoints and the apartheid wall (deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice); it discriminates against its own citizens who are Palestinian; scores of children are incarcerated in Israel as political prisoners and Israel has maintained a deadly siege on Gaza for the past six years, making it guilty of collective punishment. In the words of a study by the South African Human Sciences Research Council, Israel is guilty of the crimes of occupation, colonialism and apartheid.
Any such pariah state deserves full isolation from the international community. Indeed, we believe that the South African government’s maintenance of diplomatic relations with Israel is unjustified and immoral. South Africa should immediately withdraw our ambassador from Tel Aviv and implement full sanctions against the apartheid Israeli state.
Why should we continue to have diplomatic and trade relations with a country that not only treats Palestinians worse than Black people were treated in South Africa, but also routinely prevents South Africans from entering Palestine and has even stationed – at our OR Tambo Airport – its security agents who regularly harass and racially profile people. Indeed, one of the latest South Africans who was unable to enter Palestine was Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim himself when the Israelis prevented a delegation from the Non-Aligned Movement from attending a meeting in Ramallah.
Of course, the Israeli racist establishment will protest, and Israeli apologists in South Africa will follow suit. No doubt they will try to intimidate our government to change its position – employing the US embassy to do its dirty work as well.
We call on our government to remain steadfast in the face of this intimidation, to take the moral and just path, to do the right thing. We call on the government to eject Israeli security agents from our airport, withdraw our ambassador and end all trade links with Israel. This until the apartheid state abides by international law, withdraws all its troops from Palestinian territory, lifts the siege on Gaza, dismantles all the illegal settlements, allows all Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, and until we see the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
For more information or comment, call:
Mercia Andrews – 082 *** ****
Crystal Dicks – 082 *** ****
Stiaan van der Merwe – 082 *** ****