Although the South African government is one of the most vocal supporters of the Palestinian cause, its actions tell a different story.
While the two main political parties tiptoe around the Gaza-Israel conflict, smaller parties and religious groups are taking hard positions and the general population’s views are split along racial lines.
Israel’s assault on Gaza has shown, once again, that the UN Security Council is ineffective when it comes to protecting the human rights of all people and preventing wars. Wars will continue as long as they serve the economic or geopolitical interests of the five permanent members of the UN, especially the United States.
South Africa is leading opposition to Israel’s observer status in the African Union because the country’s relations with the people of Palestine do not reflect the principles of the AU charter.
For decades, African countries have supported the Palestinian liberation struggle against Israel, seeing in it parallels with their own anti-colonial movements. Likewise, the African people must not hesitate to criticise Israeli international law violations and occupation of Palestinian lands. The Elephant speaks to Maren Mantovani, the international relations coordinator for the Stop the Wall Campaign and the international outreach coordinator for the Land Defense Coalition, a network of Palestinian social movements.
As we watch what is taking place in Jerusalem, we are witnessing the creation of a settler colony in real time.
Since May 9, 2021, thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel, numbering some 1.9 million people and often referred to as “Arab Israelis,” have taken to the streets to express support for their fellow Palestinians in Gaza and Jerusalem. Protests are taking place in both mixed Arab-Jewish cities like Haifa, Jaffa and Lod, known as Lydda to Palestinians, as well as in predominantly Palestinian cities and towns like Nazareth and Umm al-Fahm.
Israel's maintaining of entrenched discriminatory systems that treat Palestinians unequally over half-century-long occupation of the West Bank and Gaza involves systematic rights abuses, including collective punishment, routine use of excessive lethal force against protesters, and prolonged administrative detention without charge or trial for hundreds. The Elephant in conversation with Ahmed Benchemsi, the Advocacy and Communications Director for Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division.