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Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Republic of South Africa

We, representatives of various sectors of civil society (including social and religious organizations and labour unions) are gravely concerned about the political, economic and humanitarian crisis that has been imposed on the people of Gaza, which has now been reinforced by the merciless and unceasing bombing, shelling and attacks by Israeli Occupation Forces. Today is the 13th day of the relentless bombardment of Gaza, resulting in the destruction of civilian infrastructure, including mosques, churches, universities and UN Schools, and the massacre of more than 600 people and wounding of more than 3,000. Most of the dead and injured are civilians.
Like President Kgalema Motlanthe, we too are shocked by what he called ‘the sheer savagery’ of the Israeli attacks.

What is happening in Gaza is not a war; it is a full-scale military attack by an occupying power which has the fourth most powerful army in the world against an occupied people who – consistent with their right under international law – are resisting occupation with primitive weapons. It is a series of massacres, in fact a genocide resulting in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. As one UN observer said, it is like bombs being dropped on people in a ‘cage’.

We believe that the current Israeli invasion of Gaza has its roots not in the firing of projectiles into Israel but in the occupation of Palestinian land; the Zionist creation of a refugee population – which today numbers about 6 million and the repeated Israeli refusal to allow the refugees their internationally-guaranteed right of return to their homes; and the refusal of Israel and large sections of the international community to recognise the democratic choice of the Palestinian people when they elected Hamas as the Palestinian Authority in 2006.

We note the strong statements issued by your department in the past few days and that the Deputy Minister called in the Israeli ambassador to discuss the Gaza massacre with him. In the light of the current barbarism by Israel, of the root causes of the problem in Palestine, and the condemnation already issued by the South African government, we call on the government to take the next logical steps and:1. Immediately recall South Africa’s ambassador to Tel Aviv;2. Immediately expel the Israeli ambassador in South Africa for his country’s repeated and belligerent violations of international law and commission of crimes against humanity;3. Respond to repeated calls by civil society by the implementation of a full regime of sanctions against Israel; and4. Investigate and prosecute the occurrence of the violation of the Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act by South African citizens who serve in the Israeli Occupation Forces.5. Call on Israel to immediately open Gaza's border crossings and allow the delivery of humanitarian aid and to facilitate negotiations for a truce which Hamas, civil society and governments are calling for;6. Call on the international community to continue providing humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people.WE REMEMBER THE WORDS OF NELSON MANDELA:“SOUTH AFRICA CAN NEVER BE FREE UNTIL PALESTINE IS FREE”

Date: Thursday 8 January 2009Place: At the Gates of the South African Parliament, Roeland Street, Cape TownTime: Signature:

Sheikh Achmad SedickDeputy President Muslim Judicial Council(SA)      Signature:

Sue Van Der MerweDeputy Minister of Foreign Affairs on behalf of South African Government

   Muslim Judicial Council [MJC] Al-Aqsa Foundation of South AfricaDaarut – TawheedEastern Cape Muslim CongressFriends of Al AqsaIslamic Crisis Call Centre Islamic Unity Convention [IUC]Jamiatul-Ulema GautengMedia Review Network [MRN]Muslim Youth Movement of South Africa [MYM]Palestine Solidarity Committee [PSC]Palestine Solidarity Group [PSG]Salaah-ud-deen MovementSultan Bahu CentreSunni Jamiyat-e-Ulama S.A.Sunni Ulema Council of SAUnited Ulema Council of SA [UUCSA]