27 October 2013, Cape Town
Launch of Freedom of Marwan Barghouti and All Palestinian Prisoners

We were fuelled through the darkest days by slogans such as “an Injury to One is an Injury to all”. And so from the same basis we must say that the detention of those of our brothers and sisters in Palestine and the struggle for justice is not just their detention, their imprisonment [but] we must feel it along with them.

In so many ways we were helped and inspired by the struggles of people elsewhere both internally and outside of our country…

Part of our message to the prisoners in Palestine held in the jails of the occupying Zionist forces we must say: we hear your plea, your plea is our plea, and we must reach out across the distance, and remind you that your struggle is our struggle.

Our struggle in many ways was our inspiration. In the late 1980s when we lived under a state of emergency [and] when the armoured vehicles of the apartheid regime were rolling through our streets, when our prisons were full, when our people were forced into detention, when the struggle was at its highest point, one of the big inspirations to us was the [Palestinian] intifada.

And so, in the same way as that struggle reached out, our solidarity has to reach out because I think we have to understand the role that our brother Barghouti played in that intifada.

What we have been able to achieve with solidarity was to shame the Apartheid regime, they were shamed, they couldn’t continue….part of our responsibility is to work to shame the Zionist state [of Israel]. We must shame them and make them understand who they are, where they come from, even with the Balfour declaration was about and how wrong it is in the circumstance for them to impose the oppression and exploitation on our Palestinian brothers and sisters. We must say to them, and we must say to the world, that the behaviour of the Israeli Defence Force and Shin Bet [Israeli Security Agency] is a blot on the entire world and should not be tolerated by anybody. The torture, the detention, the murder of our people, should not be tolerated by anybody.

We as South Africans must say to you [Palestinians], we understand the influence that you have had on our lives and the least that we have to do is to continue campaigning… to ensure that every freedom loving South African who cherishes our freedom, who knows where we come from will join in this campaign. We will be able to ensure that our voice resonates across the length and breadth of Palestine. Ensure that our voice resonates in the capitals of the world so that they can join in this campaign that will shame those who impose this hurt on our people in Palestine.

We’ve seen in South Africa that those stories of the Apartheid regime tried to tell of the terrorists like Uncle Kathy [Ahmed Kathrada] and Nelson Mandela and others, those stories that they tried to tell of their security. None of those stories were being heard anywhere any longer.. And I think we have the same responsibility to ensure that settlement happens but right at the front end of that we can see, feel and taste that but the release of those that are sitting in prison where charges against them are dropped.

We recognise the right of the State of Palestine, we recognise the right of our people in Palestine to campaign for that state, we recognise the right of our people to self defence. We must never ever relent on that and I think our message to our brothers and sisters in Palestine and also to every South African, to every African is let us never relent on the struggle to free Palestine. So our commitment to free Palestine is a life long commitment and part of that commitment to a free Palestine has to be seen in the way in which those who are in the jails of the Israeli Apartheid Zionist state are treated, the sooner they get out the better our campaign for the liberation of Palestine.

– Trevor Manuel served as South Africa’s Minister of Finance, Minister in the South African Presidency and is in 2014 was appointed as a senior advisor to the Rothschild