As Israel continues to bomb Gaza, South Africans, diplomats show solidarity at Palestinian embassy
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Pretoria - As bombs rained down on Palestinian homes and infrastructure in Gaza on Tuesday, South African civil society and foreign diplomats gathered at the Palestinian embassy in Pretoria in a show of solidarity with the Palestinian people.
“It is deeply devastating that 11 Palestinian children have been killed daily over the last five days. The last time Israel bombed the Gaza strip they killed over 551 children, which was one child killed every two hours over less than six weeks. In the last five days there has been 11 Palestinian children killed by Israel every day, bringing the total to over 60 children killed, many as little as under five years of age,” said Muhammed Desai of Africa4Palestine.
Desai called for international solidarity against the onslaught on Gaza, and reminded South Africans that the Palestinians gave the South African liberation movements financial resources and training in the struggle against apartheid.
Palestinian Ambassador to South Africa Hanan Jarrar addressed the gathering saying, “We salute all South Africans who took to the streets in favour of human rights and in solidarity with the Palestinians. This is not an issue for Muslims or Christians, this is about being human.”
Jarrar said that Israel must be held accountable for its crimes, and said the Palestinians are demanding that political and economic sanctions be imposed on Israel in a show of real international solidarity.
A number of Ambassadors attended the gathering, including the Ambassadors of Turkey, Venezuela, Jordan, Yemen, Iraq and Tunisia.
Turkish Ambassador Elif Comoglu Ulgen delivered a specific message to the South African media. “Congratulations on standing together with the Palestinians in their just movement. We need more responsible reporting because today wars are waged on social media, in the news and through tweets.”
Ulgen also said that there is a need to see more of the African continent standing up for the Palestinians, particularly given the long struggle against oppression and colonialism on the continent.
Palestinian Ambassador Jarrar claimed that the current Palestinian strike in the occupied territories is symbolic in the history of Palestine in that it shows Palestinians are more united today than in the past. “We are telling the Israeli regime that you failed - failed as a colonial expansionist regime. There is no more West Bank, Jerusalem, Gaza, because today the Palestinians are united and standing as one in front of Israeli oppression and aggression.”
“We are entering a new era. Our young generation is leading the battle for liberation, exposing the Israeli apartheid regime by introducing a counter narrative, and exposing the mainstream media which has always been biased in Israel.”
As the Palestinians talk of unity in the face of Israeli military aggression in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that “Operations will continue as necessary.”
Palestine’s Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour urged the international community on Tuesday to recognise the right of Palestinians to resist Israeli occupation.