MEDIA RELEASE: Starting today 24 Hour Candlelight Vigil at DIRCO in Pretoria for Gaza
21 November 2012
Starting today (Wednesday, 21 November) at 06h00 and ending tomorrow (Thursday) at 06h00 the South African Students Congress, COSATU, the SACP as well as BDS South Africa (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel in South Africa) will be holding a 24 hour candle light vigil at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) in Pretoria.
Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, representing the various hosts of today's 24 hour vigil said: "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."
Speeches and presentations by members of the various organizations will take place today (Wednesday) at 18h00.
STARTS: 06h00 Wednesday, 21 November
ENDS: 06h00 Thursday, 22 November
WHERE: SA Department of International Relations and Cooperation (460 Soutpansberg Road, Pretoria/Tshwane)
For more info on this event and other Gaza actions:
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 parliament in Cape Town.
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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
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: )
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.
The recent ANC National Policy Conference in June was also very clear that the "ANC is unequivocal in its support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination, and unapologetic in its view that the Palestinians are the victims and the oppressed in the conflict with Israel."