In Palestine there lives a peace-loving people like all of us, who look forward to enjoying a life of decency and dignity. These people once had a place they called their own; the land, the peace, the environment, the natural resources and all that they possessed then. It was so until the arrival of the forces of occupation, in the form of the Israeli Zionists who took all that was ever possessed by these people and turned them into perpetual slaves without land and freedom.
Following the illegal occupation of their land, the people of Palestine fought for their freedom and are still fighting even now. Their struggle has become a global symbol of resistance against apartheid, occupation and colonialism in our age. Their struggle is for the same cause as that heroically waged by South Africans against apartheid not so long ago. It is this light that South Africans have always and shall continue to support these sister peoples in their quest for justice and dignity.
COSATU fully supports the week of global action against the forces of apartheid occupying the land of the people of Palestine. We shall actively participate in all the activities, particularly the march taking place on Friday, 05 March in Pretoria where we call for the maximum participation of our members in show of solidarity.
We also fully support the unity demonstrated by all the progressive forces involved with the people of Palestine as they came together to constitute the Coalition for a Free Palestine, which COSATU is a proud founder and active member of. This initiative is very important in the work of building unity and taking forward the historic outcomes of the Cairo Declaration. Only through working together and showing unity shall we be able to contribute to the unity of the oppressed and fighting people in Palestine.
This month will also include a series of activities dedicated to the cause of the people of Palestine, amongst them; Launch of the BDS Campaign, tour of Spain by COSATU President, Sidumo Dlamini on this issue and various other initiatives that take forward the momentum involved.
According to the Los Angeles Times of January 17, 2009 , Israeli TV broadcast a father`s heartbreak Friday night when a Palestinian doctor living in Gaza made a frantic phone call to a newscaster saying an Israeli tank had shelled his home, killing three of his daughters and injuring other family members.
This is just one incidence that indicates the tragic nature of the crisis in Palestine, where Israel has apportioned itself the divine right to bomb, imprison and even carry out bio-chemical warfare in the form of white phosphorous chemicals against the people in order to enforce its illegal occupation their land through arms and force and subjected them to conditions of perpetual imprisonment in their own homes and country.
It compels one to share in the pains and humiliation daily experienced by our people under the weight of zionist imperialism. It is a call to all people of nobility and dignity to do something now in defence of humanity. Participating in the just struggles of the Palestinian people is not anti-semitism, but a call for justice and freedom. The attempt to blackmail all who call for freedom in Palestine, anti-semites is a desperate attempt by Zionist bullies to silence all who stand up against their savage attacks on humanity and freedom.
In all our struggles as COSATU we have always conducted ourselves with the noblest of intentions and discipline, even in the midst of extreme provocation. We refused to be intimidated or provoked to act in a manner other than that required by our highest ideals as a progressive force of revolution. Even under extreme provocation and insults, we have maintained our cool and insisted that the freedom of the Palestinian people is non-negotiable as was ours. We are proud to be associated with the growing movement of people seeking alternative paths to savagery, war and racism. We shall not stop fighting occupation, colonialism and racism, not because we are against Israel or any other state. We shall continue to do so, precisely, because we are against the oppression and suffering of other people, wherever they are. We shall act in defence of Jews, Arabs, Asians, Africans, Latinos and anybody who dare suffer humiliation by anybody. Therefore, our struggle is not against any particular group, but any act that dehumanises other people.
Finally, we stand firmly opposed to apartheid, colonialism, occupation and injustice of whatever form. We call for the world to intensify the prosecution of all who commit war crimes against humanity and ensure redress for victims of such savagery.
Bongani Masuku (International Relations Secretary)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
1-5 Leyds Cnr Biccard Streets
Tel: +27 11 339-4911/24
Fax: +27 11 339-5080/6940
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