Media Review Network (MRN) as a co-complainant to the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa, seeking an investigation and prosecution of South Africans serving in Israel’s terrorist army in violation of the Foreign Military Assistance Act (FMAA), is appalled at the Zionist regime’s bloody carnage in Gaza.

The settler-colonial occupation forces have once again launched a military aggression against Palestine’s besieged population of 2million in the world’s largest open air prison.

Since last Friday relentless airstrikes and heavy bombings of residential apartments and buildings took the lives of 44 martyrs of the Palestinian cause — including a 5-year-old girl and senior leader of the Palestnian Islamic Jihad resistance movement, Tayseer al-Jabari — and wounded 360.

Mindless war crimes against an occupied people via drones, missiles and fighter jets are a hallmark of Israel’s  pattern of terrorism. They operate hand in hand with ongoing home demolitions, arrest raids and assassinations of Palestinians in all of the Occupied Palestinian Territories including Historic Palestine.

We condemn these horrendous acts of barbarism which continue to plunder Palestine with impunity and without accountability. It is disgraceful that neither the United Nations nor any of its affiliate institutions including the International Criminal Court have to date failed to intervene or apprehend Israeli leaders for war crimes.

We therefore echo the call by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network by urging all supporters of the Palestinian cause to take action to defend Palestine, the Palestinian people and their Resistance against the Zionist onslaught.

The vengeful arrest of Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement leader Bassam al-Saadi in Jenin, in which occupation forces killed 17-year old Dirar al-Kafrini, is an unjustified and provocative act.

Al-Saadi was beaten during the attack and the vindictive Zionist occupation forces posted photos of his wounded face.

It is known that in recent days, the pariah regime’s politicians, analysts and Zionist media have been rampant with speculation, especially as the illegal Jewish settlements around Gaza have been under curfew, that the response of the Palestinian resistance could undercut the occupation’s ability to arrest and attack Palestinian leaders freely without repercussions.

It is known too that the upcoming Apartheid-style elections and internal political chaos among Zionist forces, an unbridled military assault on Gaza gives  Yair Lapid and his war cabinet the opportunity to “campaign” for votes through aggression against the Palestinian people. An old trick mastered over time: Kill Palestinians to gain Jewish votes!

As Samidoun correctly points out, that though the Israeli occupation depicts this aggression an attack on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement, in reality, it is an attack on the entire Palestinian people — in Gaza, throughout occupied Palestine from the river to the sea — and their comprehensive resistance in all forms.

There is no moral or political equilibrium between the Occupier and the Occupied. The fact is that Gaza is not an independent sovereign state engaged in a military confrontation with its “neighbour”. It is sliver of Palestinian territory under military siege and blockade by Israel.

More than 70% of the besieged people in Gaza are refugees, forcibly displaced from their homes and lands to which they are denied their right to return.

Though a “truce” has kicked in, we call on all solidarity movements and friends of Palestine to join together in standing with the besieged Gaza, the Palestinian people and their courageous resistance throughout occupied Palestine and in exile and diaspora.

We hold the United States, Canada, the European Union countries, Britain and other imperialist powers fully responsible for the crimes of the occupation, providing it with the weaponry that has been used to commit these killings, and has enabled the ongoing Nakba targeting the Palestinian people for the past 75 years, providing it with military, political, economic and diplomatic support.

Rather than recognizing the Palestinian resistance’s legitimacy, these imperialist powers target the resistance organizations with “terrorist designations” and repression.

This makes it more urgent for solidarity movements to declare collectively: Resistance is not terror!

We welcome the strong statement of condemnation issued by Department of International Relations ( DIRCO ), which categorically holds Israel as the occupying power, responsible for deliberate murder of innocent Palestinians.

However we do believe that while DIRCO has insisted that Israel’s occupation and wanton crimes are in violation of International Laws, more needs to be done by South Africa to isolate Israel.

An immediate intervention required is to reverse visa protocols that favour Israel but punish Palestinians. The status quo as it exists is not only an embarrassment but also reflects adversely on South Africa’s foreign policy towards Palestine.

As Samidoun points out, this is a critical moment to escalate the campaign to isolate the Israeli regime at all levels, including through boycott campaigns that target the occupation’s economic exploitation of the Palestinian land, people and resources as well as those international corporations, like HP and G4S, that profit from the ongoing colonization of Palestine.

Israel’s aggression is an extension of the siege on Gaza that has been imposed on the besieged Strip for over15 years.

The least expected of South Africa during this crucial time in the aftermath of Israel’s horrendous massacres, is to provide economic and practical support both at state and at popular level to sustain the steadfastness of the Palestinian people in their long walk to freedom.

Iqbal Jassat

Executive Member

Media Review Network

Johannesburg

South Africa