In the words of Mariam Barghouti, “Gaza just broke out of prison.” The recent counterstrike by the Palestinian Resistance fighters is showing that peace, stability and certainty can never be guaranteed in Israel-Palestine, until and unless the Zionist government ceases its violent occupation of Palestine and cedes the annexed lands back to Palestinians. The Zionist entity is directly culpable for the violence that occurs in the region, including against its own Jewish citizens, due to its ongoing regime of racialised settler-colonialism.
The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) is repulsed by the attitude of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in promising merciless war on Hamas. The promise for a merciless war against resistance fighters and the ordering of Palestinian citizens of Gaza to leave by Prime Minister Netanyahu, as he prepares for the “vengeance”, means nothing but the continuation of catastrophic attacks on the Palestinians, violations of human rights, and sheer impunity from Israel forces.
Palestinians have since 1948, been battling the Israeli state which was established in violation of their political sovereignty and human dignity. Since 1967, the escalation of the occupation, has since increased the brutalisation of Palestinians and naturalised it. The killing of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers and settlers has become commonplace. Homes have been destroyed, Palestinians have been unjustly arrested and social services such as health and education are being disrupted by harassment and intimidation of public servants.
The South African Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has revealed a grimmer picture in their statement, detailing the attacks on the Masafer Yatta villages. It said, “Palestinians are under constant attack from occupation soldiers and illegal settlers, destroying their homes, schools, uprooting trees, stealing livestock, confiscating cars of teachers to stop them reaching schools, and arresting residents.” Further, the PSC said that these attacks intensified this year in May, with “Israel courts affirming the area as an Israeli apartheid military firing zone.” How can an inhabited village be cleared as a military firing zone? This shocking decision affirm the state of Israel’s attempts to ethnically cleanse the area, as they have done in other areas.
Under these conditions, the Palestinian people do not only have the right and the duty to resist the illegal occupations, harassment and the atrocities committed against them by the Israeli state but deserve our support in doing so. SAFTU thus reaffirms its support to the Palestinian resistance fighters. However, we urge the resistance fighters to aim their guns at the Israeli forces, not at ordinary working-class Israelis. Further, we appeal to the Israeli working class to join forces with the Palestinian resistance fighters, particularly the working-class movement in Palestine, to fight against their government’s continued violation of Palestinian lives.
We note that the struggle for Palestinian rights are part and parcel of the internationalist working-class struggles against imperialism. The Zionist project is aided and abetted by the United States, who exercise force to further their extractive geopolitical and economic interests in the region. The words of Ghassan Kanafani reverberate in our support for the Palestinian resistance movement, “Imperialism has laid its body over the world…wherever you strike it, you damage it, and you serve the World Revolution.”
SAFTU joins other organisations in solidarity with the Palestinian people and condemn the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel state. Further, we join hands to demand that the South African government:
- End sports, cultural, academic and other links with apartheid Israel and corporations complicit in Israeli apartheid.
- Declare the Israeli Ambassador in Pretoria persona non grata and sever diplomatic relations.
- Expedite the National Prosecuting Authority case to prosecute South Africans joining the Israeli occupation forces in total contravention of our Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act.
- Act within the UN to reinstate the Special Committee Against Apartheid towards international sanctions and institute an international protection force against apartheid Israel’s barbarism.
We urge all progressive forces to join us in picketing against Zionist occupation, and the forces that enable it, at 16:00 on Wednesday the 11th of October outside the US Consulate – 1 Sandton Dr, Sandhurst, Sandton.