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“I am Palestinian – My Voice Matters”

In an opinion articleSA must stand up for the women of Iran”  published in IOL on 21 November 2022 Kenneth Mokgatlhe criticizes what he claims are South Africa’s double standards in international affairs by pointing to Minister Naledi Pandor’s statements with regards to Israel’s apartheid and falsely claiming that women under Israel’s rule enjoy rights and equality.  I am a Palestinian living under Israel’s rule and I campaign for human rights, and I must point out that Kenneth Mokgathle is wrong. I have worked with renowned human rights organizations documenting and reporting on Israel’s systematic oppression in Palestine for over 15 years. Most recently I helped produce Amnesty International’s report “Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity” which includes case studies illustrating how Palestinian women are systematically treated as a less and inferior to Jewish Israeli women. Palestinian women, whether inside Israel or in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, are subject to the regime of racist laws, policies, and practices Israel imposes on Palestinians and carry the heavier brunt of the resulting systematic human rights violations.

They are also victims of systematic crimes including forcible transfers, killings, torture, and persecution which have been documented over many years by UN mechanisms, international, and local human rights bodies including Israeli organizations. Earlier this year Israeli forces raiding a Palestinian refugee camp in the city of Jenin north of the occupied West Bank, murdered renowned Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and then attacked her funeral. Despite strong and clear evidence of Israel’s responsibility for this targeted killing, which is a war crime under international law, and despite statements including by the US confirming Israel’s responsibility, no one was held to account. Quite the contrary, statements from Israeli politicians, including government officials, have stressed that soldiers controlling millions of Palestinians have a free reign to shoot and kill. Journalists and activists who stand up for women’s rights but turn a blind eye or give cover to Israel’s aparthied and the daily systematic oppression of Palestinian women are hypocrites who themselves uphold double standards.

Saleh Hijazi

Africa Campaign Coordinator at the National Committee of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. He is a Steering Committee member of the Pan-African Palestine Solidarity Network. He was MENA Deputy Regional Director at Amnesty International from 2018-2022. Saleh has also worked with Human Rights Watch and Al-Quds University Human Rights Clinic in occupied Palestine.


Saleh Hijazi
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