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BDS South Africa Press Statement: Palestinian icon Leila Khaled invited to SA’s Parliament’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Jacob Zuma

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bdssouthafricaPalestinian icon and liberation hero Leila Khaled has been invited as a guest of the Presiding Officers of the South African Parliament to attend the upcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA) by South African President, Comrade Jacob Zuma. Leila Khaled will be accompanied by a senior leader of BDS South Africa to SONA. The State of the Nation Address will take place in Cape Town on Thursday the 12th of February.
The State of the Nation Address of the President of South Africa (abbreviated SONA) is an annual event in the Republic of South Africa, in which the President of South Africa reports on the status of the nation, to the resumption of a joint sitting of Parliament (the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces). The speech marks the opening of the parliamentary year and is usually attended by important political and governmental figures of South Africa, including former Presidents, the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court and other members of the judiciary, the Governor of the Reserve Bank, and Ambassadors and Diplomats to the Republic.
Palestine solidarity and human rights organisation, BDS South Africa together with all progressive supporters of Palestine’s right to self determination welcome Leila Khaled’s invitation to attend SONA. Leila Khaled has inspired many liberation leaders, not just in South Africa, but across the world. Khaled attending SONA is a sign of the great respect South Africans have for her and her incredible commitment towards the self determination and freedom of Palestine. We know that her fearlessness and radical militancy inspired many liberation leaders in South Africa, today some of these leaders have protected her from Zionist and Israeli onslaught and even ensured that she is able to attend this prestigious event.

Leila Khaled has had a wonderful South African trip thus far, with huge support from the liberation movement and ruling party, the ANC as well as from the thousands of supporters across the country from Pretoria to PE, Nelspruit to Newcastle, Cape Town to Soweto. South Africa, through showing such respect towards Leila Khaled, has placed itself on the right side of history. South African leaders have not succumbed to pro-Israeli groups that have tried to influence leaders into rejecting comrade Leila Khaled. Clearly no amount of money or free trips/holidays (to Israel) have been able to turn South Africa’s leadership against BDS South Africa and the oppressed people of Palestine. Indeed Leila Khaled’s attendance of SONA will be historic and also a show of gratitude from her to the South African people who have been so hospitable to her during the past few days.

Leila Khaled’s presence at SONA should be seen as a clear sign that South Africa is a friend of Palestine and that no pro-Israeli lobby or interest group can change this fact. This position is not an accident, but one which was adopted by South Africa the moment Nelson Mandela became president in 1994. The BDS movement has been overwhelmed by the massive support and response of the South African people, the media, the ruling ANC party and South African Government to Leila Khaled during her BDS trip. The BDS movement and Leila Khaled would like to thank the thousands of people who have assisted in making her time here such a special experience.

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