Cii News | 17 Rajab 1436/07 May 2015
Prominent former South African minister and businessman Tokyo Sexwale visited the Palestinian town of Hebron earlier on Wednesday where he was harassed by Israeli soldiers and settlers, according to media reports. Sexwale witnessed the multiple barriers set up by Israeli soldiers at all entrances and exits of the town to harass Palestinian citizens and prevent them from reaching the town.
Sexwale’s delegation toured the Ibrahimi Masjid and the surrounding neighborhoods in Hebron. Maan News Agency reported the Israeli occupation forces prevented Sexwale’s delegation at gunpoint from entering the old town areas before being harrassed by Israeli settlers.
The delegation listened to a detailed presentation by a Palestinian Rehabilitation Committee in the area that outlined the nature of attacks carried out by settlers in the town , in addition to the multiple barriers set up by Israeli soldiers at all entrances and exits of the town to harass citizens and prevent them from reaching its centre.
Following their altercations with IDF soldiers in the area, settlers harassed Sexwale and his guides directing at them profanities, allegedly racist in nature.
Sexwale expressed his pride at the steadfastness of the Palestinian and their insistence to stay in their land, despite the brutal Israeli attacks.
Pointing out the seriousness of the situation of Palestinians in the town, in comments to the media, Sexwale spoke of the need for an urgent international intervention to end Palestinian suffering in the region.
The prominent businessman is visiting Palestine this week as the president of the anti-racism campaign, Global Watch. Sexwale was invited to Palestine by Palestine Football Association (PFA) president Jibril Rajoub. Rajoub is due to seek Israel’s expulsion from FIFA later this month.
Sexwale said the trip was a fact finding mission to understand the problems that are prevailing around sporting issues in Palestine and Israel.
Anti-apartheid activist, Robben Island Prisoner, former South African Government Minister and prominent businessman Tokyo Sexwale departed from Johannesburg’s Oliver Tambo Airport yesterday evening en route via Jordan to Palestine. Sexwale is travelling to Palestine as the President of the anti-racism campaign, Global Watch.
Global Watch is a brainchild of Sexwale and is supported by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, South Africa’s ANC party as well as several other organizations and groups.
Speaking at OR Tambo Airport Sexwale said: “The objectives of the visit is a listening visit and also a fact finding mission to understand the problems that are prevailing around sporting issues in particular in reference to Palestinians and Israel and where we can paly a role as Global Watch… its unacceptable that a situation prevails within Palestine and between Israel of hostility that also finds itself on the sporting field. Part of our mission, we will be working with Mr Blatter… and members of FIFA.”
He went on further to explain that: “[I will] have initial discussions with the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Football Association to understand what their objectives are, what their feelings are… it’s a fact finding and also a listening exercise”.
Sexwale was invited to Palestine by Palestine Football Association (PFA) president Jibril Rajoub. Rajoub is due to seek Israel’s expulsion from FIFA later this month. Last year in 2014 Rajoub agreed to drop a FIFA resolution urging delegates to take up sanctions against Israel at FIFA’s Congress in Sao Paulo but Rajoub has now indicated that he would press ahead with the same proposal in Zurich on 29 May 2015. Rajoub said he “would not make concessions” because nothing has improved in the way Israel is “persecuting Palestine footballers, athletes and the movement of sporting equipment…enough is enough…Israel is still behaving like the neighbourhood bully, or worse.” Palestine has already tabled its motion and it is on the Congress agenda (www.insideworldfootball.com/
The Palestinian Embassy in Pretoria confirmed that Sexwale is on a 2-day fact-finding mission to the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Abdel Hafiz Nofal, the Palestinian ambassador to South Africa welcomed Sexwale’s visit to Palestine saying: “To have someone of the stature of Comrade Tokyo Sexwale in Palestine is a privilege, it’s an extension of our historic relationship between Palestine and South Africa. Our officials in Ramallah will brief Sexwale on the current state of Palestinian sport and sporting bodies. Sexwale is also expected to have discussions with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and President of the Palestine Football Association Jibril Rajoub.” Nofal further indicated that Sexwale will visit the gravesite of former Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader, Yasser Arafat.
Kwara Kekana of the Palestine solidarity and human rights organisation BDS South Africa also welcomed Sexwale’s visit saying: “We trust that our counterparts in Palestine will brief Comrade Tokyo on the various BDS sporting campaigns including the campaign led by PA Minister and President of the Palestine Football Association Jibril Rajoub to have Israel expelled from FIFA later this month.”