The ANC Stalwarts and Veterans along with the Concerned African Forum (CAF) have entered the fray calling for the recall of the South African Ambassador to Israel and temporarily and close all diplomatic relations with the country for its attack against worshippers in East Jerusalem and targets in Gaza

The stalwarts also asked for the stopping all economic relations with Israeli companies; a boycott of all goods from the country and stopping of travels between the two nations. They expressed anger at Israel’s use of violence against Palestinians who rose up after the violent action by Tel Aviv against worshippers at the sacred Al-Aqsa Mosque.

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South Africa supported the two-state solution in the Middle East and the governing ANC had been involved in solidarity relationship with the Palestine struggles. The late Palestinian Liberation Organisation leader, Yasser Arafat was a friend of the ANC.

The Stalwarts, comprising stalwarts of the governing party who believed in the ANC original values of self-lessness, anti-corruption and against power mongering described the Israel action an attempt to consolidate its “illegal occupation of the Palestinian land.

The Israel security forces raided the East Jerusalem-based Mosque last week and disturbed worshippers observing the Ramadan.

The Stalwart and the CAF demanded that Israel should immediately end its onslaught on Gaza, West Bank and withdraw its security forces from the Aqsa Mosque and its precincts and allow Palestinians free access to their places of worship, and end the forced removals of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah and other neighbourhoods of Jerusalem.

“The further rapid displacement of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the Israeli violation of International Law and its blatant abdication of its responsibilities as the Occupying power in Jerusalem and the Gaza strip is totally unacceptable.

“In this context we must remember that more than five decades of the occupation of Jerusalem is but one dimension of their tragedy. For 700,000 Palestinians (and their descendants) who were driven from their original homes, villages and land over 70 years ago by the sustained atrocities of Zionist gangs, paramilitary groups, and the Israeli army, the forced removals in Sheikh Jarrah and the pogroms unleashed by racist gangs attacking Palestinians within Israel are shockingly familiar,” the joint statement said.

They said the Palestinians in Gaza faced another massacre similar to the 1940s when Zionist militia massacred Palestinians destroying more than 530 Palestinian cities, towns, and villages. “ Palestinians continue to suffer daily under the Israeli policies of occupation, colonialism and apartheid in the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem and within Israel itself, as well as the merciless siege imposed on Gaza for the past 14 years.”

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“At the time of writing, the latest round of Israeli war crimes in Gaza has resulted in the killings of more than 120 people, including women, and 30 children. Apartment blocks and homes are deliberately targeted (and) Israel is poised to launch an all-out ground, sea and air attack with horrific deaths in the offing. The Israeli attempt to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem of its Palestinian citizens represents multiple violations of international law. The Palestinians will not achieve freedom and justice as long as the world remains silent but especially where the USA and European countries persists in supporting it with weapons, trade preferences, diplomatic, financial and moral aid; and the biased praise of its mainstream media,” the statement said..

We South Africans who have lived through apartheid cannot be silent as another people is treated as non-human beings, facing daily humiliation.

We cannot accept a ruthless state deploying the most modern American aircraft, helicopter gunships, tanks and artillery on defenceless civilians. We cannot accept the Israeli state’s assassinations of Palestinian leaders.

Israel defended its action against what it called “terrorists” from Hamas whom it accused numerous rocket attackest against Israel citizens in Jerusalem. It said it had a right to defend its citizens.

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