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Sa human rights delegation confirm the atrocities in the occupied territories

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SA Human Rights Delegation confirm the atrocities in the Occupied Territories

By Tahir Sema

The South African Human Rights Delegation to the Occupied Palestinian Territories presented there findings yesterday. Three prominent members Jody Kollapan-South African Human Rights Commissioner, Mondli Makhanya editor of the Sunday Times and Janet Love the Director of the LRC and ANC NEC reflected upon the atrocities and injustices perpetrated against the Palestinian people.

All three members of the panel referred to the gross human rights violations that occur in the West Bank on a daily basis. Janet Love spoke about the difficulties faced by Palestinian families. The Palestinians are virtual prisoners in there own homes. An elaborate and an oppressive permit system makes the normal daily lives of the people an impossibility. The group met ordinary Jewish citizens who oppose this kind of treatment of the Palestinians. 

Mondli Makhanya was taken a back by what he had seen on the five day trip. Drawing on specific analogies to the South African experience in the days of Apartheid, he acknowledged that it was much worse in Palestine than in South Africa. It reminded him of the injustices we as South Africans faced during the apartheid era. Mondli believes that South Africans have something unique to offer in terms of a solution. His impression was that there was no light at the end of this Middle East tunnel. Makhanya believes that there is definitely a role for South Africans to play. He ended of with a possible solution that both parties need to find common grounds on the issue in order to end the occupation.

Mr Jody Kollapan in his report back adopted a more conciliatory approach. He acknowledged that it is a very long and protracted conflict, making specific mention that the purpose of their trip was not to prescribe any solutions. Rather the delegation undertook the trip as concerned South Africans. For MR Kollapan the control of power in the conflict and its devastating effects stood out. Especially the lack of hope for Kollapan the vast difference between Nablus and Tel Aviv revealed a story of great misery and oppression.