MEDIA RELEASE: Bomb threats made to vigil at DIRCO and other nationwide "Gaza solidarity" events
21 November 2012
Anonymous bomb threats have been made to organizers of the nationwide protests and prayer services against the recent Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip. One threat, received by BDS South Africa via Facebook, reads:
"A BOMB WILL GO OFF AT ONE OF YOUR PROTEST MARCHES IN SA- WATCH OUT FOR THE PERSON WITH THE BACK PACK- ATTACK ON ERETZ [ISRAEL] WILL DRAW WRATH" (See facebook message here: http://tinyurl.com/a85xbha
BDS South Africa, one of organizer's of today's joint COSATU, SACP and SASCO 24 hour candlelight vigil at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) in Pretoria, strongly condemns these threats made by members of the Israeli lobby.
Fatima Vally of BDS South Africa said: "Its reprehensible that members of the Israeli lobby will stoop so low in their attempts to crush criticism of Israel's violence against the Palestinian people. BDS South Africa takes these threats very seriously and will be reporting this to the South African Police Services (SAPS) for further investigation. However, we are not deterred and will be continuing with our protest and prayer services in solidarity and remembrance of those that have been killed in the recent Israeli attacks on the people of the Gaza Strip."
ON A POSITIVE NOTE - 24 hour fast undertaken
BDS South Africa salutes the courageous Mohan Hira who has joined the 24 hour vigil at DIRCO by undertaking a 24 hour solidarity fast. Hira, a devout Hindu, is the President of the Mahatma Gandhi Remembrance Organisation. He started his fast of no water and food today at 06h00, when the Gaza vigil started, and will only end tomorrow morning at 06h00, when the Gaza vigil ends.
The 24 hour candlelight vigil forms part of a national week of action in protest against the recent Israeli attacks on Gaza which have left over 100 Palestinians killed, including more than 30 children. A mass protest rally will take place tomorrow outside South Africa's parliament in Cape Town. Protestors are calling on the South African government to: A) Immediately recall the South African ambassador from Tel Aviv; B) Expel the Israeli ambassador from Pretoria; and, C) Impose broad-based boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on Israel until it ends its violence against the Palestinian people, abides to international law and respects human rights.
MEDIA RELEASE ISSUED BY MUHAMMED DESAI FOR BDS SOUTH AFRICA
BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS in SOUTH AFRICA (BDS SOUTH AFRICA)
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Last week, on Wednesday the 14th of November, in clear violation of a truce that had just been agreed to, Israel carried out an extra-judicial assassination of Palestinian political activist and member of Hamas, Ahmed Jabari. Only hours before his death, Jabari intended and was in the process of finalizing a long-term ceasefire peace agreement with Israel. Lat year, Jabari gained wide popularity due to the central role he played in the Palestinian-Israeli prisoner exchange where he oversaw the release of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, in fact, Jabari personally escorted Shalit during the exchange.
Since Wednesday and the illegal assassination of Jabari, Israel has subsequently embarked on a full-scale military offensive on the Gaza Strip killing over 100 people, including 30 children and a pregnant woman with her unborn twins.
In addition, more than 600 civilians have been wounded. On Sunday the 18th of November, marking the deadliest single Israeli attack, 10 members of one family were killed in an Israeli air-strike on the Palestinian home of the Al-Dula family. The dead include 4 children (who were 2 to 5 years ), their mother, an aunt, a cousin, an 81 year old grandmother as well as two neighbors.
(Find a Los Angeles Times news report here: http://tinyurl.com/d4p7j45
Even at the height of Apartheid in South Africa we didn't have F16 fighter-jets, military tanks or ground incursions on the scale that the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are currently experiencing. These sort of Israeli attacks tragically confirm the position of the African National Congress (ANC) chairperson, Baleka Mbete, who said at the October ANC International Solidarity Conference that the situation of the Palestinians is "far worse"
than the conditions were under apartheid.
In line with this ANC position (South Africa's ruling party) and in protest of Israel's attack on the Gaza Strip, we are calling on the South African government to: A) Immediately recall the South African ambassador from Tel Aviv; B) Expel the Israeli ambassador from Pretoria; and, C) Impose broad-based boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on Israel until it ends its violence against the Palestinian people, abides to international law and respects human rights.