The Concerned Africans Forum (CAF) is compelled to speak out against the shameful assassination of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Sadistic forms of violence meted out against mourners, including the invasion of the bereaved family home, are a traumatic reminder for South Africans of the horrors of apartheid brutality. There are several eye witness accounts that provide compelling evidence that the shot to the head that killed Shireen was fired by an Israeli sniper. This suggests a pre-meditated plot to remove a voice of justice for Palestinian rights that has long shone a light on the excessive aggression of Israeli efforts to silence dissent and subjugate the Palestinian people.
Acts of wanton violence on Palestinians by the apartheid Israeli state and its security forces are nothing new. The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is in itself a clear violation of international law, as are the evictions and forced removals of Palestinians from their homes by Israeli settlers.
Attacks on cultural workers are also common place. There is a long history of attempts by Israel to shut down Palestinian institutions and eradicate Palestinian culture and existence in Jerusalem. Home demolitions, land confiscation, extrajudicial killings and residency revocations have the characteristics of an overt ethnic cleansing campaign aimed at erasing the Palestinian and Arab identity of the city.
Israeli assaults on press freedoms are also sickeningly frequent. The Palestinian Ministry of Information reports that at least 45 Palestinian journalists have been killed by Israeli forces since the year 2000. The blatant murder of Shireen Abu Akleh, an international Al-Jazeera journalist who has become a household name, suggests that the apartheid Israeli state now believes even more strongly that it has to account to nobody but itself. Scenes showing the clear use of excessive force by Israeli securities against the casket bearers and peaceful bystanders at the funeral are a further demonstration of Israel’s disregard for universal values and its contempt for the dignity and rights of the Palestinian people.
These disgraceful attacks on the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice are an attack on each and every one of us. The defeat of the apartheid regime in South Africa taught us that unless impunity is replaced with accountability evil will continue to triumph.
CAF is concerned that the impunity which allows Israel to continue using its heavy boots to grind down opposition and wipe out its opponents will embolden ever more drastic conduct from the security forces of fascist states wherever they find themselves. Reckless actions and inflammatory statements from Israeli ally, the U.S., fueling the war in Ukraine and pushing its NATO allies to escalate global tensions, in
1 its pursuit of unipolar domination, appear to have given Israel the belief that under these conditions it has all the backing it needs.
In celebrating the life of Shireen Abu Akleh, in mourning her death and in demanding that those responsible be held accountable, a wave of intense anger has been unleashed around the world. Fresh energy has been instilled into the calls for justice for Palestine, for freedom for its people and for new reinvigorated forms of solidarity that ensure international accountability for the Israeli state and its jackboots.
Just as the South African liberation struggle found support from cultural workers, artists, musicians, academics, business people, sports people, activists and progressive forces around the world, so too must the apartheid Israeli state now also be isolated and exposed. The murder of Steve Biko by the South African regime galvanised the anti-apartheid liberation forces. Let us rally together to ensure that the tragedy of Shireen Abu Akleh’s murder spurs us on to intensify our efforts to bring a decisive end to Israeli apartheid.
CAF calls on all progressive Africans and their organisations to rally behind an international solidarity agenda that speaks with one voice in declaring loudly and clearly that enough is now enough! The strongest possible forms of action are required to ensure that the Israeli state is denied the right to once again literally get away with murder. There can no longer be any doubt that Israel is indeed an apartheid state and that an international effort to end its oppressive agenda is ever more urgent.
Now is the time to organise public actions and revitalise forms of solidarity that articulate the depth and intensity of our anger, our frustration and our concern. The African Union, the South African government, the African National Congress, trade unions, cultural associations, political parties, solidarity movements and peace-loving citizens everywhere must step up their efforts to end these injustices.
The people of Palestine must be given every form of support that strengthens their efforts to break free of their shackles and chains. CAF will be working with its allies to advance our common agenda.
Concerned Africans Forum (CAF)
Mongane Wally Serote – Chairperson
CAF Spokesperson David Monyae 011 559 7501
Strategic Dialogue Group
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