Christians, ANC host events in support of Palestine

2018-05-11 19:12
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In solidarity with Palestine, the Johannesburg Christian community and the ANC in the Western Cape have planned events for Sunday and next week Tuesday.

The Christian community in Johannesburg will be holding a vigil at Constitutional Hill on Sunday to acknowledge the six-week protests along the fence separating Gaza and Israel, dubbed the #GreatReturnMarch.

Religious institutions have noted the growing number of Christians who are becoming increasingly aware of "the true nature of Israeli apartheid state", organiser Reverend Ntuthuko Nkosi said.

The South African Council of Churches, the Council of African Independent Churches, Kairos Southern Africa, South African Jews for a Free Palestine and BDS Africa are in support of the vigil.

"Since 1948, with the establishment of the modern State of Israel, Palestinians have faced 70 years of ethnic cleansing by Israel," Nkosi said.

"During this time, more than 400 villages were destroyed. More than two thirds of Palestinians became refugees or were internally displaced. Land belonging to the indigenous Palestinian people was and continues to be stolen."

Nkosi said that the Christian presence in the "holy land" was "at risk" and that a responsibility fell on everyone to come up with creative ways to address the call for support by Palestinians.

Demanding action from national government

The African National Congress (ANC) in the Western Cape has also announced its plans to march in Cape Town on May 15, in support of Palestine.

During a press conference on April 18, secretary of the ANC in the Western Cape Faiez Jacobs said that Palestinians were at the forefront of the international movement against the South African apartheid regime.

"Our freedom, which our people fought for and some died for, was only possible because of our friends in the international community who made our struggle their struggle, who campaigned in support of us and who advocated for boycotts, divestments and sanctions against the then apartheid regime," Jacobs said.

The ANC in the Western Cape, along with the Muslim Judicial Council and the National Coalition 4 Palestine, are demanding decisive action from the national government.

They are calling for the implementation of the decision to downgrade the South African embassy in Israel to a liaison office.

The controversial announcement to downgrade the embassy immediately and unconditionally was made on the last day of the ANC's 54th elective conference in December last year.

"Palestinians are daring to dream of freedom. We are supporting them to make that dream a reality," Jacobs said.

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