Given the recent Israeli attacks on the Palestinian Gaza Strip that have, to date, resulted in the killing of over 190 Palestinians, BDS South Africa together with other South African civil society organizations, trade unions, and political groups held a solidarity protest last Friday (11 July) at South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO). The Palestine solidarity protest was addressed by COSATU’s General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi (watch video here: http://tinyurl.com/mh2r75q or find audio here:www.mediafire.com/download/sfk79k2y4k6okt1/Zwelenzima_Vavi.mp3).
The following demands, including calling on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) to expel the Israeli ambassador were made to DIRCO. DIRCO has been given till the end of today, Wednesday 16 July to provide a response. The demands are for DIRCO and the SA government to:
1) Immediately issue a demarche, as a form of diplomatic protest, to the Israeli Embassy in South Africa making it clear that we as South Africa (government and vast majority of civil society) condemn these Israeli attacks on Gaza and killing of innocent civilians;2) Immediately recall the South African Ambassador in Tel Aviv, as a form of diplomatic protest, particularly given the Israeli bombing over the weekend of the Palestinian NGO for Disabled people that killed two disabled people;3) Immediately expel the Israeli Ambassador Arthur Lenk From South Africa.

4) Heed Palestinian civil society’s — as well as Amnesty International’s — call for a full military embargo on Israel.

5) Implement the decisions of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) conference in Durban in 2006 to:

a. ban all products of Israeli companies operating in the occupied Palestinian territory, and
b. ban entry of Israeli settlers into South Africa

6) Hold South Africans who have enlisted in the Israeli occupation army accountable to legal prosecution, in accordance with South African laws.

7) Immediately act on the Gaza Docket currently lodged with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) which names several South Africans who served in the previous Israeli massacre in Gaza in 2009.

8) Issue guidelines to South African citizens and businesses, in line with the guidelines that have been issued by 17 European governments to discourage any support for Israel’s occupation and illegal colonies/settlements (http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.603030).

9) Adopt ethical and international law guidelines that exclude international corporations complicit in Israeli violations of international law including Caterpillar, G4S, Veolia, among others, from public contracts.

10) Move away from the history of Apartheid South Africa’s cosy relations with Israel and immediately implement strict visa requirements for Israelis entering our country who must be investigated for their possible involvement in human rights abuses and war crimes including involvement in the Israeli Defense Force.

11) Finally, to affirm those brave Jewish South Africans who are standing up and refusing to allow Israel to conduct these Israeli strikes in their name. Those Jewish South Africans who refuse to allow the SA Jewish Board of Deputies or the South Africa Zionist Federation to speak in their name and who, instead, have also joined the BDS campaign and Palestinian solidarity movement in condemning the Israeli strikes on Gaza.

The BDS South Africa call for the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador in South Africa has been supported by the ANC Youth League (www.ancyl.org.za/show.php?id=8466), COSATU (www.cosatu.org.za/show.php?ID=9102), NUMSA, YCL (http://ycl.org.za/main.php?ID=01d7fae1574ee61), the Economic Freedom Fighters (http://ewn.co.za/2014/07/12/EFF-joins-calls-for-expulsion-of-SA-Israeli-ambassador) and several other South African civil society organizations and political groups.
On the social media platform Twitter, the hasthg “ExpelIsraeliAmbassador” has been trending for almost 24 hours since last night(https://twitter.com/BDSsouthafrica/status/488776141273317376).
ISSUED BY BDS SOUTH AFRICA NATIONAL COORDINATOR, MUHAMMED DESAI
BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS AGAINST ISRAEL IN SOUTH AFRICA (BDS SOUTH AFRICA)
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