South Africa

Western Cape ANC pledges to walk the walk regarding Israel policy

By Rebecca Redelmeier 18 April 2018

The ANC in the Western Cape announces plans for a Palestinian solidarity March in Cape Town on 15 May. From left: Rev Edwin Arrison, chair of National Coalition for Palestine; Shaykh Riad Fataar, Al-Quds Foundation; Faiez Jacobs, secretary of ANC Western Cape; and Muhammed Desai, co-founder of Boycott, Divest, and Sanction SA. Photo: Rebecca Redelmeier

After recent attacks on Palestinians in Gaza by Israeli forces, the ANC in the Western Cape is planning a march in solidarity with Palestinian people. Will the march put pressure on the national ANC to enact recent Israel policies?

The ANC in the Western Cape has planned a Palestinian solidarity march for 15 May as a response to attacks on Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces. These attacks follow ongoing protests in Gaza, some of which have become violent.

The march will be in solidarity with the Palestinian people’s Great Return March as well in protest against the Israeli killings of the Palestinian people,” said Faiez Jacobs, secretary of the ANC in the Western Cape, at a press conference about the ANC response to the death of these Palestinian protesters on Wednesday.

The Great Return March has been an ongoing protest by Palestinians living in Gaza that began on 30 March. On the first day of the protest, 16 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces, according to Reuters. Reuters also reported that a Palestinian journalist wearing a clearly marked press vest was killed on 7 April during the same protests.

The UN Security Council condemned the killing of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces after the March 30 protests became violent.

The planned march in Cape Town follows the ANC’s vote in December to downgrade the South African embassy in Israel. The resolution, which passed unanimously, stated that “we must give practical support to the oppressed people of Palestine” and called for “an immediate and unconditional downgrade of the SA embassy in Israel to a Liaison Office”.

However, the SA embassy in Israel has yet to be downgraded. There has also been speculation that President Ramaphosa’s election may mean a backtrack for the ANC’s Israeli embassy downgrade policy.

Now, in collaboration with the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), Al-Quds Foundation, the National Coalition for Palestine and Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) SA, the ANC in the Western Cape hoped to reaffirm their Palestinian support through the 15 May march.

Jacobs said the march would call on the national ANC government to put its previous Israel policies into action.

We will be demanding decisive action to be taken by our government, starting with the implementation of the downgrade of the South African embassy in Israel.”

Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie, the 1st deputy president of the MJC, echoed Jacobs’ call.

We would like to appeal to the ANC to ensure the resolution taken at the ANC’s policy conference in terms of the downgrade of the Israeli embassy is implemented,” he said.

Jacobs explained that the date of 15 May set for the Cape Town march is significant to the Palestinian struggle. It will mark the final day of their protests for right of return to Israeli-occupied land.

According to reports from USA Today, 15 May is also the day after President Trump has declared he will move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This also coincides with the anniversary of Israel’s proclamation of independence in 1948.

According to Muhammed Desai, a co-founder of BDS South Africa who was also at the press conference, 15 May also provides a deadline for the ANC to implement their policy to downgrade the SA Israeli embassy.

By the 15 of May, we want to see the implementation of the ANC’s resolution for the immediate and unconditional downgrade of the South African embassy in Tel Aviv,” he said. DM

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