14 May 2018

The human rights and Palestine solidarity organization BDS South Africa joins fellow South Africans in welcoming the South African government’s withdrawal of our Ambassador in Israel “with immediate effect”. Earlier this evening South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) issued a media release stating:

“The South African government condemns in the strongest terms possible the latest act of violent aggression carried out by Israeli armed forces along the Gaza border, which has led to the deaths of over 40 civilians. The victims were taking part in a peaceful protest…given the indiscriminate and grave manner of the latest Israeli attack, the South African government has taken a decision to recall Ambassador Sisa Ngombane with immediate effect until further notice.”

This afternoon, in a shocking massacre, Israel killed 53 Palestinians including 6 children, and injured more than 2000. They were murdered by Israeli snipers using live fire and expanding bullets.

Amnesty International has slammed the killings saying: “We are witnessing an abhorrent violation of international law & human rights in #Gaza…Many are reporting injuries to the head and chest. Over 500 injured with live ammunition. This must end immediately.”

BDS South Africa joins Amnesty International, fellow human rights groups and the peace loving peoples of South Africa in condemning these latest murders by the Israeli regime. There is no justification for the killing of unarmed protestors.

Since the beginning of April 2018 (in the last six weeks) Israel has killed over 90 Palestinians including 3 members of the press and injured more than 11 000 (many left with life altering disabilities). Palestinians, since the beginning of April, have been non-violently protesting in what has been termed the #GreatReturnMarch along the fence that separates the Gaza Strip ghetto from Israel.

What we are witnessing Israel doing to the Palestinians is like the massacres against and killings of our people during Apartheid. We call on the South African government to expel the Israeli Ambassador in SA, implement the ruling party’s 54th National Conference resolution for the “immediate and unconditional downgrade of the SA Embassy in Israel to a liaison office” and for our government to lead an international arms embargo against Israel.

A #FreePalestine protest led by the ANC and MJC alongside the Alliance, SA Jews for a Free Palestine, BDS South Africa, Al Quds Foundation and other solidarity groups will place tomorrow (Tuesday 15 May) at 11h00 from Keizergracht to Parliament in Cape Town. A picket will also take place at the US consulate in Sandton at 3pm. Announcement of other actions are to follow in due course.

ISSUED BY KWARA KEKANA ON BEHALF OF BDS SOUTH AFRICA