Supporters demand free visa entry to SA for Palestinians

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Pro-Palestinian supporters have demanded among others free visa entry to South Africa for people from that country and a total shutdown of the embassy in Israel.

Hundreds of protesters, including representatives from the Muslim Judicial Council, Al Quds Foundation and various political parties marched to Parliament against what they describe as apartheid atrocities committed against Palestinians.

The pro-Palestine protest was organised by the MJC, the Al Quds Foundation and some political parties, including the ANC, the Good Party, the EFF and Al Jamaah.

The Second Deputy President of the Muslim Judicial Council, Sheikh Riad Fataar, has called on all political parties in South Africa to support the people of Palestine.

Fataar says the suffering must come to an end.

“Where’s the humility? People are dying. We are with you. We feel the pain with you. We are crying physical tears for what they are going through. So, today is but another statement from the Muslim Judicial Council.”

The protesting groups also want tougher action against Israel, including a boycott and sanctions.

“The starting point is to recognise the violation of human rights. South Africa has lived through this. What we are seeing in Palestine or East Jerusalem is reminiscent of the history of South Africa. If South Africa cannot recognise those atrocities as human rights violations that they are, then I am astounded.”

Zionist Federation rejects calls for sanctions against Israel

Chairperson of the South African Zionist Federation, Rowan Polovin, has rejected calls for the State of Israel to be sanctioned.

“Calls to boycott and isolate and discriminate against the one and only Jewish State of Israel should be firmly rejected for three reasons; firstly, boycotts are cohesive and anti-democratic and they will never provide a way forward to the Israeli Palestinian conflict because they will not allow for engagement and dialogue. Secondly, boycotts would never work. Israel has an economy larger than South Africa; has very high levels of foreign direct investment and has innovations that are used daily in South Africa and throughout the world.”

Mandela’s words reverberated

The words of late former president, Nelson Mandela, that South Africa cannot be completely free until Palestine is free have again been repeated and invoked during today’s march.

Chief Mandla Mandela attended the march.

“We want our government to hear the call of its people because we are speaking as South Africans today and we are saying we do not want a downgrade of the embassy in Israel. We want to totally shut down our embassy in Tel Aviv in particular and we must fully reinstate and support our embassy in Ramamlah Palestine to show where we stand in the Palestinian issue. We want to say to our government here on our shores that we can never anymore tolerate traffic rights that are being granted to EL AL, which is a national carrier of the Israeli regime that comes daily onto our shores at OR Tambo International. We are, therefore, asking our government and Minister of Transport to revoke that traffic right and do not allow EL AL onto our shores,” says Chief Mandla Mandela.

Pro-Palestinian supporters across all political and religious formations are expected to use International Mandela Day in July to travel to rally support for Palestine.

 Cape Town groups protest against ongoing Israel, Palestine violence: