COSATU statement on al-Nakba Day
The Congress of South African Trade Unions sends its message to the justice loving Israelis and the peace loving people of Palestine as they commemorate al-Nakba Day (The day of the catastrophe) in memory of the annihilation, the elimination, the destruction of over 400 Palestinian villages and the organized removal of native Palestinian people during the establishment of the State of Israel between 1947-1948, known as "The year of the Catastrophe".
This dispossession of Palestinians has resulted in 5.5 million Palestinians refugees who are unable to return to their homes, despite the Right of Return being guaranteed under UN Resolution 194.
The brutality, humiliation and violence suffered by the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation and those living in Israel is particularly shocking given that we live in an era where apartheid has been declared a crime against humanity.
Our own experience under apartheid and how it forced its rule through methods such as the pass laws, banishment, passport denials is currently being replicated by the apartheid state of Israel on the Palestinian people at an increased rate. The deplorable testimonies given by Palestinians in occupied territories, exile and those living inside Israel as well as Israeli activists about the practical and everyday experiences of oppression and cruelty by the apartheid state of Israel have sliced open the Israeli mask of misinformation and double standards.
COSATU backs the Palestinian right to self determination and efforts to reach a viable state for, by and of all the people of Palestine - including the majority who find themselves in the Diaspora and refugee camps.
We reaffirm our support to the call by Palestinian society for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it ends its oppression of the Palestinians. We further call on the South African government to impose sanctions against this oppressive state as per the ANC 53rd conference resolution to support the BDS campaign.
COSATU reaffirms its support of the basic tenants of the struggle for a free Palestine, which are:
- Ending the Israeli occupation and colonisation of all Palestinian lands and dismantling the Israeli Apartheid Wall;
- Recognising the fundamental rights of the Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality;
- Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties;
- An immediate end to Israel`s illegal settlements, and blockade on Gaza; and
- An end to Israel`s discriminatory and racist policies.
The Palestinian people should continue the struggle for self determination and against the apartheid Israeli regime.
Statement issued by Vusumuzi Bhengu, The Shop Steward Editor, COSATU, May 15 2013
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