Cosatu to intensify Israeli goods boycott

Johannesburg - Cosatu on Tuesday vowed to "intensify" mobilising South Africans to boycott companies trading with Israel and any goods imported from the country.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) would picket outside the Woolworths in Eastgate shopping mall on Saturday to condemn the store for continuing to stock Israeli products, national spokesperson Patrick Craven said in a statement.

"Cosatu is horrified by the latest atrocity inflicted on the Palestine people in Gaza by the Israeli apartheid regime when a missile demolished an entire 13-storey block of flats on Saturday 23 August.

"Casualties were reduced as a result of an Israeli aircraft firing a non-explosive rocket at the building as a warning to residents to get out of the flats, which Israel claimed had housed 'a Hamas command centre'," Craven said.

He said since the Israeli military determined which buildings it defined as Hamas bases, this amounted to a threat to demolish the entire city, and render it uninhabitable.

He said the bombings in Gaza had affected the start of the region's school year which made the children's education another casualty of the war.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that their ultimate aim is the total destruction of Gaza as a viable community."

Tuesday marked the 50th day of the conflict between Israel and Palestine in Gaza which has so far killed 2 137 Palestinians and 68 Israelis, AFP reported.

Back-to-back truce agreements which had brought relief to millions earlier this month, collapsed last Tuesday with the renewed fighting killing 116 Palestinians and an Israeli child.

Israel, which had pulled its negotiating team out of the Cairo talks a week ago, had repeatedly said it would not negotiate under fire, conditioning a return to the table on a complete halt to cross-border rocket fire, AFP reported.

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