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Samwu press statement

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South Africans Unite In Solidarity With Palestinians During International Israeli Apartheid Week

Issued By: Taahir Sema

The first week of March 2010 marks the International Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) which began in Toronto, Canada in 2005 and now includes a wide range of activities which differ from one country to another. According to the international committee of the campaign, “An important aspect of IAW is that activists in each city decide what IAW should look like in their city”.  

We encourage fellow South Africans to intensify solidarity with the suffering people of Palestine and to isolate all organizations and individuals doing business with Israel and its supporters. We seek to ensure that no form of support is rendered by the South African government to prop up a country that stands for everything South Africans fought against. In this regard, the international committee has explained that “Israeli Apartheid Week takes its inspiration from the United Palestinian Call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, issued in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian civil society and political organizations. The demands of this call include full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, an end to the occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall, and the protection of Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in U.N. resolution 194.”

The week of international solidarity aims to create awareness of the injustices perpetrated in Palestine and to go beyond the daily violence and brutality of the Israeli Occupation to focus on other critical dimensions to the Palestinian crisis which includes “discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel and the dispossession of Palestinian refugees, both consequences of Zionism’s inherently racist structure and history”, the committee mentions. International solidarity to end apartheid played a significant role in supporting South Africans to win our freedom. It is important for South Africans to extend this solidarity to end oppression that still exists in other parts of the world today. South African activists highlight the parallels between the State of Israel and Apartheid South Africa. From racial identification through coded ID documents (pass books) to land expropriation, from controlled movement of cheap labour to the creation of Bantustans, from denial of citizenship, to detention without trial, the comparisons are numerous. Activities: Friday, March 5: A march and the handing over of a petition to the Israeli Embassy together with prayers in Pretoria. The event will bring together members of the public and representatives of faith based organisations to express solidarity and support from South Africans from all walks of life. Buses will be leaving from Johannesburg in the morning. Film screenings and a social meeting will be hosted by the Wits Palestine Solidarity Committee at the university during the week and the Palestine Solidarity Group has organised activities in the Western Cape. The public can also join in solidarity by wearing a black ribbon throughout the week. Coordinated by the Coalition for a Free Palestine. The36have been convened by a number of South African organizations including Palestinian groupings, trade unions,  political groups, human rights groups and student organizations which have come together to form a united solidarity front in South Africa, the Coalition for a Free Palestine. For further comment from SAMWU contact the SAMWU International Officer Stephen Faulkner on 011-3310333 or 0828175455. Other contact details from the Coalition; Bongani Masuku. Congress of South African Trade Unions – 079 499 6419 Salim Vally. Palestine Solidarity Committee – 082 802 5936 Suzanne Hotz. Palestine Solidarity  Group – 082 774 4594 Robert Freeman. Wits Palestine Solidarity Committee – 074 181 6578