Siege of Palestine not on, Says South Africa

Since this year marks the 60th anniversary commemorating the Palestinian Nakba, it is no secret that a global wide campaign to mobilise masses in solidarity with the victims of the last remaining colonial outpost, Israel, is gaining momentum.

In these circumstances it is entirely understandable that Israel would seek to intensify its efforts to deflect world-wide anger against its brutal policies of repression. This will explain too why propagandists allied to Israel will be expected to double their myth-making exercises in order to dilute and distort basic facts related to the expulsion and dispossession of Palestinians.

In this context, groups such as the SA Zionist Federation and the SA Jewish Board of Deputies will do their damnest to defend Israel’s sullied image as a pariah state. Their difficulty of course, is compounded by the fact that leading international organs which include Amnesty International and the Red Cross, together with multilateral institutions like the World Bank and the UN’s special rapporteur John Dugard, have determined that Israel continues to suffocate Palestinians!

This suffocation has had an enormous negative impact on the lives of Palestinians for it consists of a lengthy catalogue of denial of fundamental human rights. Freedom of movement which is severely restricted through hundreds of check-points and ensures their collective imprisonment in cantons and Bantustans, is one such example of the humiliation and suffering experienced under Israeli Occupation.

Very clearly, most civilised people would have great difficulty in defending any of the acts of state terrorism perpetrated by the Zionist regime. Apart from the gross immorality associated with deeds worse than apartheid, violations of international humanitarian laws and defiance of UN Security Council Resolutions, have led to calls of divestment and boycott of Israel.

The experience of sanctions against apartheid South Africa has to be mobilised against the apartheid applied by Israel. Since this year also marks the 40th year of Occupation, masses of people across the world are committed to end it.

It is this positive course of action by South Africa, endorsed and supported by the labour movement, political formations, student movements and religious leaders, which the Board finds unpalatable. It thus resorts to vilifying the ANC government as "lacking objectivity", being "too partisan", lacking credentials as "an honest broker" and being "biased"!

Remember the prolonged oppression endured under apartheid precisely because of such faulty arguments advanced by defenders of the National Party in Western capitals?

Any student of contemporary history comparing the racist policies of Israel to those of apartheid South Africa will undoubtedly conclude that the systematic erosion of human rights alongside the genocidal practise of collective punishment is similar in some respects and infinitely worse in other respects. This means that pariah states in league with each other as the intimate relations between SA/Israel during the heydays of apartheid confirm, provide a perfect example of "mirror images".

Thus to suggest that Hamas is a "negative mirror image of South Africa", is a clumsy and futile attempt by the Board to keep the SA government hostage to a foreign policy informed exclusively by a Zionist narrative.

Indeed, it is entirely appropriate for South Africa to lead an anti-Israel sanctions and boycott campaign rather than apply the narrow interpretations of pro-Israeli lobbyists who as a rule, ignore Israeli atrocities despite the outrage it causes to Jewish sensibilities.

Apologists and defenders of policies described by a noted Jewish academic and late columnist, Prof. Tanya Reinhart (1943 – 2007), as designed to maintain Gaza as a closed prison and to transform the West Bank into a system of sealed enclaves and to annex Palestinian land under cover of the construction of the "separation wall" will be even less impressed with these words from her:

"In the Palestinian nakba [catastrophe] of 1948, 730,000 Palestinians were driven from their villages. But rather than waiting for the history books to tell the story of the second Palestinian nakba, the Palestinians along the wall are struggling to stop the narrowing of their prisons. Armed only with the extraordinary spirit of people who have clung on to their land for generation after generation, they stand in the path of one of the most brutal military machines in the world."