PRESS ALERT: Protest march tomorrow (04 Dec) against S.African company Cape Gate (based in JHB) complicit in exploiting workers and supplying material for Israel's "Apartheid" wall and illegal settlements
DETAILS FOR WEDNESDAY 04 DECEMBER PROTEST [TOMORROW]
DATE: [TOMORROW] Wednesday, 04 December 2013
PROTEST MARCH STARTS: 9AM, Boipatong Taxi Rank (Corner Thaka Banna & Lekoa)
MARCH CULMINATES WITH SPEECHES: 12h30 at Cape Gate Head Office
(3 Nobel Boulevard, Boipatong/Vanderbijlkpark, Gauteng)
CONTACT DETAILS FOR MORE INFO: 0842119988/ 0842918510 / 0838787894
PRIMARY ORGANIZERS: Vaal Community Assembly, Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance (VEJA), Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions against Israel in South Africa (BDS South Africa), Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA), African National Congress Youth League (ANC YL), Young Communist League (YCL), South African Students Congress (SASCO), South African Youth Alliance (SAYC) and others...
Workers, environmentalists, activists and community members will be demanding that Cape Gate:
1. Respect international law and end relations with Israel (Cape Gate through its Israeli subsidiary "Yehuda Welded Mesh", supplies material to, and profits from, the construction of Israel's notorious, "Apartheid Wall". Israel's Apartheid Wall, and support for the construction of the Wall, was deemed illegal in 2004 by the International Court of Justice: http://tinyurl.com/qzfm7fd
). Cape Gate also supplies material to and for the construction of Israel's illegal settlements (SEE BELOW FOR MORE INFO);
2. Immediately discharges to ex-employees the "pension surplus funds" owed to workers for the last 18 years now (and already approved by the Financial Services Board), including full compensation for the unclaimed funds by families of the deceased workers;
3. Award to the ex-employees their company shares that were promised by Cape Gate (but never awarded) over 18 years ago;
4. Afford workers and ex-employees the due process of medical checks that should have been carried out by Cape Gate, and that these workers be awarded Occupational Health Compensation due to them in the cases of damage to health (due to employment by Cape Gate);
5. Report to the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance (VEJA) and to surrounding communities Cape Gate's carbon emission levels; Cape Gate has, till today, refused to issue a report to VEJA and the Vanderbijlpark community regarding Cape Gate's carbon emissions and pollution levels (the request for such information and report was informed by continuous chest pains and lung respiratory related infections experienced by members of communities surrounding Cape Gate);
BACKGROUND TO PROTEST
Two months ago on the 18th of September 2013 (https://ymlp.com/zAselQ
) a memorandum was submitted (and also emailed to Cape Gate on the 08th of October 2013). Cape Gate failed to respond to either and a follow up picket was held on the 06th of November 2013 (https://ymlp.com/zXdU25
) and at this picket Cape Gate, again, refused to engage with workers and activists (click here for photos: http://tinyurl.com/q7bvf7j
Abraham Mokete of the Vaal Community Assembly said: "Cape Gate didn’t have the decency nor respect to respond to us...the arrogant anti-worker attitude of Cape Gate is shameful and disgraceful...we will now be returning [on the 05th of December] in our numbers in a major protest action that will see Cape Gate shut down and be forced to respond to our legitimate concerns.
We have begun to liaise with other community, political and youth organizations to join us but we also invite all members of the public, including media, to join us in holding Cape Gate accountable to South African Labour Laws, Environmental Law and International Law. We, in good faith, requested democratic and transparent engagement with the management of Cape Gate in addressing our issues and in attempting to resolve them. We are disappointed that Cape Gate has refused to engage us in discussion and dialogue to resolve our issues. We now have no option but to protest and resort to legal recourse. We are also appealing to lawyers that could assist to also please come forward and please be in contact with us."
ABOUT CAPE GATE AND ITS INVOLVEMENT WITH ISRAEL
Cape Gate is a South African steel manufacturing company with a track-record of labour exploitation and worker mistreatment. Cape Gate is also involved in Israeli human rights abuses and violations of international law.
In 2009 StopTheWall
, a Palestinian-based human rights organization, issued a report (click here to read
) outlining Cape Gate's illegal involvement (through its Israeli subsidiary "Yehuda Welded Mesh") in Israeli military checkpoints, Israel's illegal Separation/Apartheid Wall and Israel's illegal settlements. StopTheWall details how Cape Gate has been involved, specifically, in:
- Building the Israeli fence and wall surrounding the Palestinian Gaza Strip;
- Supplying fences for Israel's Separation/Apartheid Wall being constructed in the Israeli Occupied Palestinian West Bank (in 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that Israel's Separation/Apartheid Wall was in violation of international law);
- Supplying fences for the fencing of Israel's separate roads (built on Israeli occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank), including the Cross Shomron road (road no. 5), which leads to the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, and the Israel Tunnels Road, which connects the illegal Israeli settlement of Gush Etzion and Jerusalem;
- Supplying fences used in the illegal Israeli settlements of Barkan, Ariel and Karnei Shomron in the Israeli occupied Palestinian West Bank.
On Wednesday, to coincide with the South African protest, a letter will be delivered in Palestine by StopTheWall to the South African Consulate in Ramallah.
The above involvement by Cape Gate with Israel was confirmed by the Israeli human rights organization, Who Profits, in a 2012 Mail&Guardian Newspaper expose (see: http://tinyurl.com/crglvge
). The Mail&Guardian Newspaper also un-covered that the current chairman of Cape Gate, Nathan Friedman, is also the chairperson of the pro-Israeli lobby group, the SA-Israel Forum (an organization, that it was revealed, carries out boycott-busting trips to Israel in an attempt to break the increasing international isolation of the Israeli regime).
In the recently published book, "The Case for Sanctions Against Israel" (edited by Audrea Lim) Dalit Baum and Merav Amir revealed that the late founder and owner of Cape Gate, Mendel Kaplan, was the former president of the pro-Israeli World Zionist organization (http://tinyurl.com/q7d84bf
ISSUED BY MUHAMMED DESAI ON BEHALF BDS SOUTH AFRICA
ITANI RASALANAVHO (Venda, Xhosa, Zulu and other): 0785563392
SAMSON MOKOENA (South Sotho, English): 0842918510
ABRAHAM MOKETE (South Sotho): 0838787894
MUHAMMED DESAI (English): 0842119988
BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS AGAINST ISRAEL in SOUTH AFRICA (BDS SOUTH AFRICA)
Office 915 |
9th Floor |
Khotso House |
62 Marshall Street |
PO Box 2318 |
+27 (0) 11 492 2414 | M:
+27 (0) 84 211 9988 | F:
+27 (0) 86 650 4836
W: www.bdssouthafrica.com | E:
www.facebook.com/bdssouthafrica | www.twitter.com/bdssouthafrica
BDS South Africa is a registered Non-Profit Organization. NPO NUMBER: 084 306 NPO
BDS South Africa is a registered Public Benefit Organisation with Section 18A status. PBO NUMBER: 930 037 446
BASIC FACTS AND INFO ON ISRAEL'S SEPARATION/APARTHEID WALL
NAME: Israeli supporters claim that Israel's Separation/Apartheid Wall is simply a Separation "fence" or "barrier". However, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in 2004, explained that words such as “fence” or “barrier” are "not accurate" and that the only correct term to use could be "Wall". Palestinians and human rights activists refer to Israel's Separation Wall, as the "Apartheid Wall".
COST: The cost of Israel's Separation/Apartheid Wall is estimated at R20 billion ($2 Billion), and each kilometer costs approximately R10 million ($2 million).
LENGTH & HEIGHT: Israel began construction of its Separation/Apartheid Wall in 2002. Once completed it will measure over 700 Kilometers long and more than 8 Meters high (click here to see graphic representation).
ROUTE: Israeli supporters claim that Israel's Separation/Apartheid Wall is merely a "border" between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian West Bank. However, the Israeli Separation/Apartheid Wall is not being built on, or in most cases near the 1967 Green Line, but rather cuts deep into the Palestinian West Bank, in and around Palestinian villages and expanding Israel’s theft of Palestinian land and resources. In total, 85% of the Israel's Wall is located inside the Occupied Palestinian West Bank.
LEGALITY: In 2004, the world's highest court, the International Court of Justice declared that Israel's Separation/Apartheid Wall is in violation of international law (click here to see an infographic).
STRUCTURE: Where Israel's Separation/Apartheid Wall is not made up of 8 meter high concrete slabs, it consists of fences, ditches (up to 4m deep), razor and barb wire coils, sand trace paths, an electronic monitoring system, two-lane asphalt patrol roads and buffer zones which all combined result in the width of Israel's Separation/Apartheid Wall reaching up to 100m in width (click here to see an image).
CONDEMNATION BY HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Human Rights Watch and several other bodies have termed Israel's Separation/Apartheid Wall as a violation International Law.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Amnesty International has dubbed Israel's Separation/Apartheid Wall as a "Wall of Injustice".
INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS: The Red Cross has condemned Israel's construction of its Separation/Apartheid Wall as a violation of the Geneva Conventions and contrary to International Law.
WORLD BANK: Experts from the World Bank have warned that Israel's Separation/Apartheid Wall will bring economic and social catastrophe to Palestinian townships.
SYGMUNT BAUMAN, JEWISH SOCIOLOGIST AND PHILOSOPHER: In 2011, Sygmunt Bauman, the Polish-Jewish sociologist and one of the greatest philosophers of our time, castigated Israel harshly saying that Israel was "taking advantage of the Holocaust to legitimize unconscionable acts [against the indigenous Palestinians]" and compared the Separation/Apartheid Wall to the walls surrounding the Warsaw Ghetto, in which hundreds of thousands of Jews perished in the Holocaust.
EFFECT ON PALESTINIANS
CREATING GHETTOS AND BANTUSTANS: Several Palestinian towns, for example that of Qalqilyah with 45 000 residents, is completely surrounded on all sides by Israel's Separation/Apartheid Wall effectively imprisoning Palestinians townships into open air prisons/ghettos.
DESTRUCTION: Over 150 Palestinian stores and stalls have been destroyed by Israel to build its Separation/Apartheid wall. Once completed, 12% of Palestinians will be living in a closed military zone or surrounded on three or four sides by Israel's Separation Wall. They face increasingly unbearable living conditions - the loss of land, markets, movement and livelihoods.
HEALTH AND MEDICAL CARE: Upon completion, Israel's Separation/Apartheid Wall will prevent over 130,000 Palestinian children from being immunised, and deny more than 100,000 pregnant Palestinian women (out of which 17,640 are high risk pregnancies) access to healthcare. In addition, almost a third of Palestinian townships will suffer from lack of access to healthcare. After completion, many Palestinian residents may lose complete access to emergency care at night. In Palestinian towns near Jerusalem (Abu Dis and al-Eizariya), for example, average time for an ambulance to travel to the nearest hospital has increased (due to the construction of Israel's Wall) from 10 minutes to over 110 minutes.
EFFECT ON PALESTINIAN CHRISTIANS
THE HOLY CITY OF BETHLEHEM: The historical Christian town of Bethlehem is almost entirely surrounded by Israel's Separation/Apartheid Wall, settlements and military checkpoints (click here to watch a short YouTube video on Bethlehem).
WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES: The World Council of Churches has demanded that Israel halt and reverse the construction of its Separation/Apartheid Wall and has called on "member Churches, Ecumenical Councils of Churches, Christian World Communions and specialized ministries of churches to condemn the [Israeli Separation/Apartheid] wall as an act of unlawful annexation."
CATHOLIC BISHOPS SLAM ISRAELI WALL: Earlier this year a group of 8 senior Catholic Bishops issued a statement condemning Israel's Separation/Apartheid Wall.
ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY: Upon visiting Bethlehem in 2006, Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said that the Israeli-built wall is “a sign of all that is wrong in the human heart”.
USE OF SATIRE: Due to the devastating effect of Israel's Separation/Apartheid Wall on Palestinian Christians and towns (including Bethlehem and Jerusalem) many Christians have resorted to satire and satirical cartoons to depict Israel's Wall (click here for a recent satire piece by BDS South Africa).
MOVIES: Several documentaries and films have been produced on the issue of Israel's Separation/Apartheid Wall, including the recent Emmy-award winning "5 Broken Cameras"(copies of this and other related movies are available free of charge from BDS South Africa). Click here to watch the short satirical 4-minute European Union funded YouTube video titled "A Boy, A Wall and A Donkey".
BOOKS: In 2011 the British comedian, Mark Thomas, wrote a book following his "walk" along the route of Israel's Separation/Apartheid Wall titled "Extreme Ramblings". (This book is available at Exclusive Books, click here for more info).
GRAFFITI: One of the most famous graffiti artists to have left his mark on Israel's Separation/Apartheid Wall is UK graffiti artist, Banksy, who has painted with other artists a set titled "Santa's ghetto" in Bethlehem. Banky's book, "Wall and Piece" is available at Exclusive Books.
ROGER WATERS OF PINK FLOYD: In 2006, Roger Waters of the legendary music band Pink Floyd spray-painted "Tear down the wall" on the Israeli Separation/Apartheid Wall, a phrase from Pink Floyd's 1979 album "The Wall" (which was banned under Apartheid in South Africa). In a subsequent article published by the Guardian Newspaper in the UK, Waters explains that "artists were right to refuse to play in South Africa's Sun City [under Apartheid]... And are right [today] to refuse to play in Israel until the day comes – and it surely will come – when the Israeli Wall of Occupation falls".
SOUTH AFRICAN OPINION ON THE ISRAELI WALL
SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT: In 2004, the South African government submitted an affidavit to the International Court of Justice arguing that Israel's "Apartheid" Wall was "illegal and in violation of international law".
SOUTH AFRICAN LETTER PAINTED ON ISRAELI WALL: In 2011, Justus van Oel commissioned South African anti-apartheid activist, former UDF leader and current board member of BDS South Africa, Professor Farid Esack, to compose a letter to the Palestinian people on behalf of South Africans. The result was a 1,998-word letter written in a single line and stretching over 2,6 Kilometers. Click here to watch the YouTube video.
USA PRESIDENT, GEORGE BUSH: In 2005 the-then President of the United States, George W. Bush, said "I think the Israeli wall is a problem."