The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) joins the millions of progressive citizens of the world as we commemorated the United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the People of Palestine on the 29th of November 2020. International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People gives us all (as a universal network), an opportunity to concentrate on the way that the subject of Palestine stays uncertain and that the Palestinian public still can’t seem to achieve their natural rights as characterised by the General Assembly. More particularly, the privilege to self-assurance without outside impedance, the privilege to public freedom and sway, and the option to come back to their homes and property, from which they have been uprooted.
The Federation marks this day, by emphasising the important solidarity role we all have to play of placing pressure on our governments to move beyond symbolic gestures of showing solidarity, into meaningful actions. This effort is most important in Western societies, especially in the United States, which has served as a shield and benefactor for Israel for too many years. In the South, civil society organisations should further reach out and educate people on the rights of the Palestinian people and ensure that our governments do not succumb to Western and corporate pressures.
The world should move from condemning and rejecting Israeli settlements to taking actual and serious steps to make Israel realise that there is a price for its settlement policy and its racist measures. The world must stop being hypocritical and call Israel out for what it is, an apartheid colonial state that murders children and women, steals the land of the indigenous people of Palestine, as well as controls US Foreign Policy and mainstream international media to spread lies and distortions about the reality of the horror in the Middle East. The shame of the so-called civilised world in our era.
It is the responsibility of citizens of the world to isolate Israel through an intensive boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign until it complies with international law. Similar to the global BDS movement that was detrimental in leading to the collapse of the apartheid South African regime, we urge people of conscience to join us in our call for BDS towards a liberated Palestine until accountability and justice has been achieved, and the right of return and reparation has been implemented. The imbalance of power in this struggle can only be countered through a powerful international solidarity movement that takes the BDS movement as its guide.
Creative civilian efforts such as the Free Gaza boats that broke the siege more than five times, the Gaza Freedom March, and the Gaza Freedom Flotilla are just examples of what is required to break the siege and put that arrogant, apartheid state in its place. While the leaders of the official international community stand complicit with Israel, we rely on people of courage and conscience to join us in our struggle in the same way we expected the progressive international community to join us in our fight against the inhumane apartheid regime in South Africa until it crumbled in 1994.
The only way we can redeem the blood of those who have been barbarically killed since the 1948 Nakba is to make sure that their surviving families live in a just society where all citizens are equal regardless of gender, colour, race, ethnic, sexual background, or religion. Archbishop Tutu reminds us that in choosing to be neutral in situations of injustice, we will have chosen the side of the oppressor.
COSATU unequivocally advocates for a free Palestine and calls upon all progressive forces to act and fight against forces who continue to add fuel to Israeli-Palestine tensions. We have an opportunity to not just offer solidarity in words, but to commit to political action, grassroots action, local action, and international action that will give us what justice requires – and that is a free Palestine.
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