JOHANNESBURG – The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) condemns the continued attacks on the people of Palestine by the Israeli apartheid forces.
Its statement says: ‘The residents of the Gaza Strip continue to be fired upon, and the Zionist leader Binyamin Netanyahu pronounced Israel’s murderous intent, to impose “a very heavy price for their belligerence … their blood is forfeit.”
‘In reality, it is the Zionists, and not Hamas, who are belligerent. On Tuesday (11 May) night and Wednesday (12 May) morning, Israel proved this by continued air strikes on the Gaza Strip. The latest strikes are reported to have killed three people amongst whom was a four-month pregnant woman, taking the total death toll to 43 Palestinians and 5 Israelis.
‘The attacks on Tuesday and Wednesday against Palestinians follow violence against worshippers at holy places of prayer in Jerusalem. This followed Palestinian protest against Israeli incursions into the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
‘The Israelis are reminding us, again and again, of how they have pursued illegal occupation, since the settler colonial establishment of Israel in 1948 which drove 700,000 Palestinians from their homes and land, followed by millions more displacements as the West Bank was occupied.
‘In a terroristic style, the new attacks not only treat Palestinians as though they are sub-humans, but have also focused on destroying infrastructure, communications, pipelines, in addition to buildings such as a 13-storey Gaza residential tower bloc which was bombed by Israel. The attack on the communications infrastructure may be a preparation for further killings of Palestinians on a mass scale – now without social media to broadcast such crimes.
‘SAFTU is dismayed at the biased conceptual framing of calls for “de-escalation”. Would those making this appeal also have asked anti-apartheid protesters to de-escalate our pressure against the Pretoria regime, prior to victory in 1994?
‘The framing is skewed and by implication equates retaliation by Hamas with Israeli state terror.
‘The Hamas fighters – and other Gaza, West Bank and diasporic activists – aim to liberate Palestinian lands from illegal Israeli settler colonial occupation.
‘The criminal violence is overwhelmingly that of Israel’s enforced dispossession of Palestinian lands, and is being amplified now, at a time of political turbulence, by the Israel apartheid state and right-wing settlers.’
The statement continues: ‘Emily Horne, Secretary of the US National Security Council, confirms that Joe Biden expresses “unwavering support for the Israeli forces”. Revealingly, a State Department spokesperson has refused to condemn Israel for its bombings of Gazans and the preponderance of destruction, confirming that Biden is identical to Donald Trump when it comes to bolstering Zionist aggression.
‘SAFTU joins hands with all progressive organisations and trade unions who stand against Israeli apartheid, by pledging solidarity with the Palestinian people. We urge all working-class organisations across the world to protest this latest set of atrocities, including in South Africa at our parliament and Israeli state offices, as has begun this week. We call for all people of conscience to rally, and to pressure governments, businesses and all institutions to divest and cut ties with Israel:
- Stop handling goods imported from or exported to Israel,
- Divest trade union pension – and other – funds from Israel bonds and from corporations and banks that are complicit in Israel’s occupation and human rights violations,
- Dissociate from Israeli trade unions which are complicit in the occupation,
- Support the call for a military embargo on Israel, and
• Boycott Israeli products.’