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Joint press release

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MRN & PSA: The Gaza Docket & Operation Cast Lead

Monday, 5 March 2012

The Palestinian Solidarity Alliance (PSA) along with the Media Review Network (MRN) were revolted by the mass slaughter perpetrated at the hands of the Israeli Defence Force during operation Cast Lead at the end of 2008/2009. As South Africans, the brutality and barbarism of the military operation against a predominantly civilian population reaffirmed our commitment to the words of our first democratically elected president Mr. Nelson Mandela “our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

During the course of these massacres it emerged that South African citizens partook in this heinous operation and have served in the Israeli Defence Force in direct contravention of South African legislation. Furthermore, the Rome Statute places an obligation on its signatories such as South Africa to prosecute foreign individuals guilty of war crimes and mass murder as was seen during the operations in Gaza. The proposed visit of Tzipi Livni and the actual visit of Lt. Col. David Benjamin to South Africa activated the State’s duties as a signatory to arrest these individuals for their roles in the Gaza slaughter. It was this information that ignited the calls for the Gaza Docket in 2009, an investigation into the direct and precise activities of citizens of our country in helping to perpetrate human rights violations against a foreign population as well as investigations and the call for arrests of foreign leaders and authorities as per the Rome Statute.

The Palestinian Solidarity Alliance and the Media Review Network are dismayed by the delay since the lodging of the docket. The delay persists despite having pictures showing South Africans serving in the Israeli Defense Force and holding a South African flag as well as refusing to investigate foreign accused regardless of having a South African citizen who suffered the brutality of Cast Lead. Furthermore, the organisations would like to place on record their abhorrence in what appears to be the compromising of professionalism on the part of the Minister of Justice as per the following email originating from the Office of the Minister on the 20th January 2010:

“Kindly be advised that the Minister will be addressing the Jewish delegation on the 9th February 2010. Before his address he will have a meeting with the Chairperson of the Jewish Council to discuss the “threatened prosecutions of South Africans serving in the Israel Defense Force” as per the table below.” The table referred to is found in an email correspondence dated 20th January 2010 by the national director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, (SAJBD),Wendy Kahn, to the Office of the Minister. It is indeed a sad state of affairs when the Minister of Justice accepts an invitation to discuss prosecutions of South Africans serving in the IDF with the Chairperson of the SAJBD when the SAJBD is one of the organisations being probed by the Gaza Docket. Meeting with the South African Jewish Board of Deputies not only has the potential to compromise the case of the Gaza Docket, but it is a pitiful show of probable support for an organisation which directly promotes a state which has little regard for basic human rights and represents little of what South Africa advocates in our constitution.

The Palestinian Solidarity Alliance and the Media Review Network call upon civil society, our legal and political structures to remain conscious of our role as South Africans to ensure the principles of justice prevail. Justice remains the defining characteristic of the struggle against Apartheid and our identity as South Africans. Let the Nation be steadfast in supporting the principle of justice once more in the spirit of the statement “our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

Issued by:

Zaakir Ahmed Mayet (0725820885) – Media Review Network (MRN)

Naazim Adam (0823366711) – Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA)

For more information contact:

Ibrahim Vawda – 072 295 0088 /

Yousha Tayob – 082 926 5408 /