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Karbala 05-07 September 2022

Address by Br. Attorney Ziyaad Ebrahim Patel (South Africa)

اَلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ ٱللَّهِ وَبَرَكاتُهُ‎

Peace and salutations to the prophets of the holy scriptures and to our beloved master Muhammad (SAW) and his holy household.

May Allah (SWT) grant peace upon the prophet’s companions and to our esteemed leader of the faith, Imam Ali Ibn Talib (RA), Imam Hassan and Imam Hussein (RA).

Indeed, being present here is part of my spiritual journey after recently having pilgrimaged, to Medina. Living on the African continent, I returned home with a sense of emptiness in not having visited the holy burial shrines of significance in our Islamic history situated in Najaf and Karbala.

I am also distressed following recent events in the capital city of Baghdad and pray that a political solution is found that is reflective of the aspirations of all Iraqi people to live in peace and harmony who have endured decades of war, conflict, occupation and strife.

On the plains of Karbala, I am drawn to the auspiciousness of this invitation and the deeply meaningful significance to address this congregation. I am grateful first and foremost to the source of all creation, God Almighty.

Dear Esteemed Colleagues, Brothers and Sisters, Fellow Activists people of Iraq, Karbala and Palestine 

In our struggle for freedom and the liberation of Al-Quds and all Muslim lands controlled by colonial entities and their fiefdoms, we must reject from the outset all forms of sectarianism that divide us from our common source and Islamic legacy which leads to the true way of life espoused by our beloved prophet Muhammad SAW.

Today we must reaffirm in Karbala that unity in a common ummah does not mean that we cannot differ.

We must reaffirm our unity in our diversity and culture.

We shall not allow our diversity to be weaponised by neo-colonial forces that are hellbent in their geopolitical agenda to divide and conquer. The grand plan of Zionist and imperial balkanisation of Middle East for hegemony over strategic resources must be repelled with the contempt it deserves.

I stand here today as a brother addressing you as my fellow brothers and sisters in humanity.

The principle of Justice is engineered into our belief code.

‘Stand up firmly for justice, as a witness to God, even as against yourselves or your parents or your kin, and whether it be against rich or poor.‘ Surah 4:135

The prophet peace be upon him said in his farewell sermon, “O people. Your Lord is one and your father is one. (Adam) An Arab has no superiority over non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over Arab, also white has no superiority over black nor does black have any superiority over white, except by piety and righteousness. All humans are from Adam and Adam is from dust.”

And in Surah 49:13, O mankind we have created you from one male and female and made you into nations and the tribes that you may know one another. Surely the most honourable among you with Allah is the one who is the most righteous. Verily Allah is all-knowing all aware.”

I am appreciative for the tireless efforts by the organisers of this conference – the General Secretariat of Imam Hussein Shrine, the University of Ahl-Bayt, Karbala Centre for Studies and Research, the Nidaa Aksa Society, the International Scholarly Forum for Palestine and my dear colleagues at the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine –


My discussion interlinks the fourth theme – Intellectual and cultural discourse in relation to the cause of Palestine which includes:

  • Our responsibility as scholars, thinkers, intellectuals, and professionals in raising awareness of the Palestinian cause and the role of the free people around the world in defending just causes – the liberation of Palestine.


  • We are guided by the principles espoused in the holy Quran on standing firm in the cause of justice and against oppression.


Clearly adherence to this concept emanates in our belief which has been practised by the Ahl Bayt.

In lawfare advocacy, I have focused on the utilisation of legal mechanisms in holding the Israeli Occupying Forces (the IOF / IDF), its institutions and the apartheid state apparatus accountable for its crimes perpetrated with impunity.

I addressed the UN Human Rights Council in 2016, through the Khiam Rehabilitation Centre and TADAMON into raising awareness of the plight and processing of Palestinian political and child prisoners, administrative detention and their ill treatment. Israel perpetuates torture practices which constitutes under international law a crime against humanity.

Many child detainees like Ahmed Al Manasra have endured and most recently political prisoner, Khalil Awawdeh who has crushed the occupation prison services with his resolve in embarking on a hunger strike to secure his freedom. His remarkable resolve and unbroken spirit champions Palestinian aspirations for the fundamental right to life and human dignity.

In March of this year, we had held a press conference in Cape Town, South Africa on an internationally significant case – the South African Zionist Terrorism Corridor Probe.

This is an extensive criminal complaint the first of its kind, requesting an investigation into South African citizens and nationals who serve in the occupying forces. The criminal investigation interrogates the unlawful activities into the sourcing, facilitating and recruitment structure by pro Zionist institutions – South African Zionist Federation (SAZF), the Zionist Federation of South Africa – Israel (TELFED), the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and Israel Center for Cape Town.

At least fifteen South African private nationals / citizens are also indicted for further criminal investigation. Specialised law enforcement agencies and prosecutorial authorities are mandated in egregious crims of this nature.

The criminal charges levelled against the accused suspects and institutions include:

  • Contravention of the Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act (RFMAA),
  • Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terror and Related Activities Act,
  • Violation of South Africa’s Implementation of the Rome Statue for probe into war crimes, crimes of aggression, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and genocide, and
  • The Prevention of Organised Crime Act.


Altering the narrative is paramount in a system of conventional western media which shamelessly “OTHERS” the Palestinian cause in the manner events get reported.

The Terrorism Corridor Probe addresses this. The findings by Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk on the situation of human rights concluded, that the expansion of the settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territories constitutes war crimes.

War crimes have become not only the norm in Gaza, but it extends to neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem, Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and the occupied Palestinian territories. The Zio settler neo-colonial Judaization project continues despite the insurmountable evidence of its criminal conduct.


The Global military industrial complex must also be scrutinized. Its enablers, bankers and financiers that sustain such lethal use of weapons of mass destruction can no longer go unabated for their crimes and must be held to account – hostis humani generis (as the enemy of all humankind).


A village that exposes JNF greenwashing is Lubya, a former Palestinian Arab Village in the lower Galilee where during the 1948 Nakba Palestinians were ethnically cleansed and forced out of their homes. Salman Abu Sitta’s detailed analysis illustrates that, under international law, ethnic cleansing, destruction of property and depopulation of villages are war crimes. JNF has participated in these war crimes. All such actions are punishable.

This is part of a process of using absentee property law based on questionable evidence to take Palestinian assets and give them to settlers, and to destroy the delicate fabric of life in Jerusalem.

Furthermore, by secretly renewing land purchase in the West Bank in the past, the JNF through its subsidiary Himnuta has been buying lands from Palestinians in the West Bank in order to establish settlements. This is also in violation of the Nuremberg Charter.

Another key strategic project was inspired from the 6th International Conference, I had attended in Support of the Palestinian Intifada, in February 2017 held in Tehran, was the inception of an institutionalised campaign entrenching Palestinian solidarity rights through the IPPSRA advocacy Bill.

Honourable Br. Mandla Mandela of South Africa endorsed, “lawfare has long been a weapon in the arsenal of liberation struggles all over the world. In our own quest for freedom in South Africa and the heyday of the 1960’s 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s Anti – Apartheid Movement in the UK, lawfare was a highly effective tool of struggle.

“We require mobilisation on an unprecedented scale in support of the PRO BDS Bill. This is a historic moment in our struggle for a free Palestine.  We must ensure that widest spectrum of public engagement is mobilised and that we create global awareness of the campaign. For too long now has Apartheid Israel continued its atrocities, ignored international law and made a mockery of the International Criminal Court. All of this in broad daylight and within full view of the international community”. 

I have also engaged with lawyers over the past decade in preparation of the Gaza Docket recording the voluminous evidence of atrocities perpetrated by the IDF in 2008-2009, representation of South African citizen, Sister Gadija Davids in the Turkish Freedom Flotilla Aid mission and placing on record the atrocities perpetrated by the IOF/IDF in Gaza – 2014 and May 2021.

IPPSRA and the Terrorism probe can be customised for advocacy in other jurisdictions. This is important against the status quo of intractable international institutions, the ICC and the United Nations which have been ineffectual in altering the situation in occupied Palestine, despite even the crucial reports by Amnesty International which found: Israel imposes a system of oppression and domination against Palestinians across all areas under its control: in Israel and the OPT, and against Palestinian refugees, in order to benefit Jewish Israelis. This amounts to apartheid as prohibited in international law. Laws, policies and practices which are intended to maintain a cruel system of control over Palestinians, have left them fragmented geographically and politically, frequently impoverished, and in a constant state of fear and insecurity.


Genocide is defined, not by a particular form of violence, but by general and pervasive violence.” Settler colonial regimes are structurally prone to genocide and may indulge in “genocidal moments” when they become frustrated by the resistance of a colonized or occupied people.”

Human rights advocates and scholars conclude the killings of Palestinians and their forceful expulsion from mandate Palestine in 1948, the Israeli occupation of the west bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza, and violence and discrimination directed at Palestinians by the Israeli government have violated a number of human rights protections contained in international human rights, with genocide being among them.


The apartheid Israeli state, its settler colonial policies and prison system continue to violate Palestinian rights and entrench systematic practices to subjugate the will and aspiration of the Palestinian people for the right to self-determination. The utilisation of lawfare and global advocacy of the IPPSRA Bill in building universal jurisdiction can bring to justice where international criminal law and fundamental human rights have been violated. No longer shall intransigent international institutions deny long overdue justice to Palestinians and the apartheid Israeli state, its leaders, the IDF commanders and complicit institutions will face the global net of accountability for its crimes.

I echo the words of Br. Iqbal Jassat – Media Review Network in his recent publication: “Message of Palestinian Resistance is clear: No Surrender to Apartheid Israel!

“Whether Israel assassinates journalists such as Shereen Abu Akleh; imprisons and tortures leaders of the Resistance; demolishes homes and destroys farmlands; raids, plunders and bombs Gaza; it cannot subdue Palestine’s spirited struggle to free itself from the yoke of Zionist brutality.” 

“As South Africa learned so will Israel that wielding military power to eliminate as many targets as it wants, (argued as state terrorism) will not attain “security” nor sustain any of Zionism’s ill-gotten gains. Islamic Jihad’s successful thwarting of Israel’s unprovoked onslaught in Gaza, has allowed it to emerge victorious and an important component of Palestinian resistance.”

“Alongside Hamas and Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad has entrenched itself as a force capable to deter Israeli aggression. More importantly, the message it proclaims is that Palestinian people will neither retreat nor surrender”.

The words of Imam Hussein (RA) – “Avoid oppressing the one who does not have any supporter against you, other than the Almighty God.” (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 78, P.118)

And certainly, the liberation of Palestine shall give effect to the prominent words of Imam Ali Ibn Talib (RA)

“Justice is putting everything in its proper place”.

شكراً جزيلاً

Br. Attorney Ziyaad Ebrahim Patel

 South African International Human Rights Lawyer – Lawfare advocate for a free Palestine

 (An attorney who, under section 4(2) of the Right of Appearance in Courts Act 62 of 1995, has the right of appearance in the Supreme (High) Court in the Republic of South Africa)

 Tel No. + 27 11 782 2644

Cell No. + 27 83 309 5238



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