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Umsebenzi Online

Volume 6, No. 10, 6 June 2007

In this Issue:


Red Alert

End the Illegal Israeli Occupation! Marking the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War

Blade Nzimande, General Secretary

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Arab-Israeli war of June 1967, which led to, amongst other things, the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories that continues till this day. It also marks the 60th anniversary of the issuing of the United Nations General Assembly resolution regarding the establishment of two states in mandatory Palestine, in November 1947.

In June 1967, Israel started a war through which it seized the whole of Palestine, including Gaza, West Bank, East Jerusalem, as well as seized Sinai from Egypt and the Golan Heights from Syria. This started the long, illegal occupation of Palestine by the apartheid Israeli regime. In November 1967 the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 242, calling for the complete withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from these Palestinian territories. The Israeli regime, backed particularly by the United States, has since then defined many UN resolutions calling for an end to this illegal occupation.

End the illegal occupation!

Our Tripartite Alliance of the ANC, SACP and COSATU, together with other organizations involved in the Palestinian solidarity activities, have joined together to, amongst other things, condemn the continued illegal occupation of Palestinian territories by the apartheid Israeli regime and calling for an end to this occupation; a call for an end of sanctions against the Palestinian authority; and the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

The SACP, and our allies, is joining a number of activities in our country and worldwide in solidarity with peoples of Palestine and their right to self-determination, culminating in national rallies this coming Saturday, 9 June 2007. These demonstrations and marches also seek to join hands with progressives all over the world to raise and highlight the continued atrocities and intransigence of apartheid Israel, supported by US imperialism, to heed the call of the UN and overwhelming world opinion in this regard.

The SACP therefore fully supports the following major calls and demands by peace loving people and democrats throughout the world:

  • That apartheid Israel and the US imperialism in particular, which are unjustly besieging Palestinians and Palestinian territories, to end the siege immediately. This unjust siege exacerbates deteriorating conditions of Palestinians, causing immeasurable damage to the Palestinian economy, depriving Palestinians of basic necessities such as food and medicines, and causing mass unemployment and poverty and preventing any economic or social development, eventually destroying the prospects of building an independent Palestinian state,
  • End Palestinian occupation, and complete dismantling of all Israeli settlements on Palestinian territories, dismantle apartheid wall built by Israel and for the effective addressing of the situation of Palestinian refugees

Israel: an apartheid and sub-imperialist state

It is such a cruel irony of history that a people cruelly treated and murdered by the Nazis during the holocaust, have now contrived to subject the Palestinian people to murder, torture, war and to a host of other atrocities. Sensible people would have expected that victims of such atrocities would become the champions of freedom and peace, the right of nations to self-determination, and oppose all forms of violence inflicted upon a people whose territory is occupied. So it has come not to be and therefore it is imperative that all progressive forces continue to mobilize against Israeli occupation of Palestine.

In 2001 an SACP delegation, at the invitation of the Palestinian People’s Party, visited the occupied Palestinian territories as well as East Jerusalem. We saw for ourselves the atrocities perpetrated by the Israeli regime against the Palestinians. Amongst other things we visited the Al Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem where young Israeli soldiers rudely asked every visitor to this mosque, including Palestinians, to recite parts of the Q’uran, as a condition to enter the Mosque. Most in our delegation were prevented from entering the mosque, thus experiencing directly some of the humiliation and persecution visited upon the Palestinian people.

Whilst in Palestine we also directly experienced and saw for ourselves the almost daily bombings in Palestinan territories by the Israeli army, the inhumane and degrading roadblocks that the Palestinians are subjected to. In addition, our delegation was subjected to very humiliating searches at the Tel Aviv airport, irrespective of the fact that two members of our delegation were Members of Parliament – a serious affront to the dignity of our democratic state, sovereignty and its democratic institutions and representatives!

Israel is by all accounts an apartheid state, pursuing racist and oppressive policies and practices towards the Palestinian people, and denying them their right to self determination. Indeed the Israeli state was the biggest friend and collaborator with the apartheid regime, thus buttressing the criminal activities of the apartheid regime against the majority of our people.

The Israeli state is fully backed, funded and armed by the United States to act as a sub-imperialist state in the region, acting as an instrument to maintain the interests of the US in the wider Middle East. The primary goal of the US in the region is to conquer and subject to its control the oil fields of the Middle East, defeat radical pan-Arab nationalism, with Israel performing some of the functions that the US cannot perform directly in its hegemonic intentions in this region. 

The situation in Palestine is both horrific and untenable, and constitutes one of the gravest violations of human rights in modern times. Israel is making it difficult for Palestinians to live ordinary lives. In addition, Israel has embarked on a campaign of arbitrary arrest of Hamas legislators, detaining ministers and holding them hostage. Palestinians are subjected to the horrible practice of collective punishment, by attacking, arresting and torturing families of Palestinian activists. The SACP says all these must be exposed and stopped and that is why we are joining the Palestinian solidarity activities this week.

An open challenge to the South African Jewish Board of Deputies

The SACP, contrary to the stance by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), also fully supports the boycott of the Israeli products in South Africa. Some of these products are produced in the Palestinian territories, and buying these is tantamount to colluding with the oppression of the Palestinian people. The SACP endorses this boycott especially because it is not aimed at the South African Jewish community but at those supporting apartheid, zionist Israel. On its part the SACP has actively discussed and mobilized the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union not to handle Israeli imported products.

We wish to also challenge the SAJBD to act as a legitimate voice for the South African Jewish community, rather than an apologist and defender of the Israeli Zionist interests. Indeed the SACP supports the rights of the Jewish people to organize themselves freely and pursue their common objectives and interests. This is after all one of the fruits of our democracy. However, not all South African Jews support the actions of the Israeli state, especially against the Palestinian people. Indeed our own Party has had, and continues to have, Jewish leaders and cadres opposed to the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel, and who played a leading role in the struggle against apartheid.

It is also incumbent upon the SAJBD to desist from its tendency to label all those progressive forces and individuals opposed to the Israeli occupation of Palestine as anti-Semitic. This reminds one of similar practices by the apartheid regime to label all those opposed to it as ‘communists’ and ‘lackeys’ of the Soviet Union. To support the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and an end to the Israeli occupation is not an anti-Semitic act, but a commitment to peace, democracy and the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to their own state.

That is why the SACP calls upon all democratic and peace loving members of the Jewish community in South Africa to join us during these demonstrations against the occupation. We also call upon and urge all peace-loving Israelis and conscientious objectors to forge strong links with the South African Jewish community in solidarity with the just struggle of the Palestinian people. The South African Jewish community must become more critical of the racism inherent in Zionism.

The South African Communist Party calls upon all its cadres and indeed the majority of our people to join in and pledge their solidarity with the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people for self determination, and condemn the apartheid Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

End the Israeli Occupation! Free Palestine! Boycott Israeli Products, Join and Support Palestinian Solidarity Activities!