Palestinian civil society calls for international help
‘Crimes against humanity’: Palestinian civil society condemns Israel’s planned annexation of occupied West Bank.
The South African chapter of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) Coalition, a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality, is calling on the South African government and others in power to stand behind Palestine’s fight against Israel’s planned annexation of Palestinian land, which is set to start on 1 July.
Palestinian civil society is calling for effective measures to be put in place by all states to stop Israel’s illegal annexation of the occupied West Bank and grave violations of human rights.
Political leaders, civil societies and activists across Asia, Africa, and Latin America (the Global South) are imploring the United Nations to intervene in the Israeli state’s impending action. Global South signatories are pleading for further support.
Firoza Mayet, human rights activist and a member of the Palestinian Solidarity Alliance, says that it would violate fundamental principles of international law, including the right to self-determination and the prohibition of the annexation of territory by force.
In a media briefing held on 18 June, Mayet said that for the last 72 years Israel has “systemically undermined international law through impunity through the theft, colonisation, and annexation of Palestinian property and territory.”
Mayet adds that Palestinians, who “stood by us” during the brutal and inhumane days of apartheid, need the support of the South African government and her people – along with Palestine solidarity organisations and governments in countries within the Global South.
Mayet says that this should be done “not by mere platitudes, but by endorsing the call made by Palestinian civil society for the United Nations to impose effective countermeasures and sanctions against Israel, should they continue to violate fundamental principles of international law.”
Ronnie Kasrils, former South African intelligence minister and anti-apartheid activist, says that since 1948, Israel has essentially been the only country that has engaged in occupation and annexation.
“It [Israel] had been permitted to do so with impunity, owing to the fact that it has the unqualified support of the United States, Britain, and the complicity of the European Union,” says Kasrils.
In November 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US supports Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s move to occupy parts of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley, a move that did not go without criticism.
Mayet states that the planned annexation of 30% of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley, would intensify the appropriation of land, the forcible displacement of Palestinian populations, and the settling of Israelis in the occupied territories.
Mayet explains that the Palestinian civil society is calling on the South African government to support justice by adopting a resolution at the United Nation general assembly to “implement targeted and lawful sanctions against Israel including a military embargo as a countermeasure to stop annexation of occupied Palestinian territories”.
“Palestinian civil society is also demanding for the boycott of all products coming from illegal settlements in Palestine, by suspending free-trade agreements, measures similar to those adopted by the United Nations during apartheid, which the United Nations labelled as a crime against humankind,” adds Mayet.
Kasrils says that allowing Israel to “get away” with the annexation, “basically gives a green light to the global community”.
“It does away with the United Nations’ position that, since 1945, occupation and annexation should not be recognised,” says Kasrils
A global awakening to ‘social injustice and colonialism’
William Shoki, from the Wits Pan Africanist Congress, explains that it is important to understand the global context in which Global South is undertaking this campaign.
Shoki says that “for the first time in recent memory, ordinary citizens across the globe are becoming alive to the legacies of colonialism, social injustice, and exclusion that have been perpetuated in their own countries and in the world.
“It is within this moment that it is important for us to not only extend our solidarity to those in America, but also to those across the world who are fighting injustices as well. This includes the Palestinian people who have been doing this for more than seven decades.”
“This is a great test for humanity to show that we are seriously committed to ending injustice,” adds Shoki, not only in instances which receive extensive media coverage and, but also injustices that go on silently.
Shoki ends by saying that “we call on everyone to understand in this moment that we should understand now more than ever that injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere”. MC