Israeli Apartheid Week 2013 (IAW) has ended on a very successful note in South Africa. The extensive programmes rendered throughout the country have kindled the flame of freedom for the Palestinian people in every citizen’s heart.
In Orange Farm, South of Johannesburg the week ended with the vocal chants from a plethora of supporters for the Palestinian cause. Speeches at the rally were rendered by the National Secretary of the Young Communist League, Buti Manamela; Palestine Liberation Organization’s Tamer Almassri; BDS South Africa’s Mbuyseni Ndlozi amongst others.
The speakers were very scathing on the atrocities inflicted on the Palestinian people by apartheid Israel and they vowed to petition the South African government and its citizens to continue to boycott Israeli products and fight for the Sovereign state of Palestine and freedom of the Palestinian people.
However, it was an article that was distributed that created an excitement amongst those that attended, titled “Ex Israeli ambassador to SA says his country is an ‘apartheid state’.”
The article states a former Israeli ambassador to South Africa, Alon Liel, shocked many Zionists by saying that as long as there is no independent Palestine, its occupier Israel will always remain and apartheid regime. He reiterates there can be little doubt that the suffering of Palestinians is no less intense than that of blacks during the apartheid era in South Africa.
Liel called on President Barack Obama to stay home if he didn’t warn Israelis about the dangers of an approaching “apartheid cliff.”
Liel stressed that in the situation that exists today, until the Palestinian state is created, Palestine and Israel is actually one state. “This joint state… in the hope that the status quo is temporary is an apartheid state,” said Liel.
Similarities between the “original apartheid” as it was practiced in South Africa and the situation in Israel and the West Bank today “scream to the heavens”, added Liel who was Israel’s ambassador in Pretoria from 1992 to 1994.
Addressing Obama’s upcoming Middle East visit, Liel warned, “If you, President Obama, intend to come here for a courtesy visit, don’t come. Don’t come! We don’t need you here for a courtesy visit.”
“You cannot come to an area that exhibits signs of apartheid and ignore them. That would simply be an unethical visit. You yourself know full well that Israel is standing at the apartheid cliff. If you don’t deal with this topic during your visit the responsibility will at the end of the process also lie with you,” he added.
Liel has condemned Israel’s harsh policies against the Palestinians and last year he started boycotting goods produced in the West Bank to protest the lack of progress in the peace negotiations.
With the ending of this awareness week, we can look back and say that it has been a phenomenal success in the mainstream. The words of Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo cannot be over emphasized. The two stalwarts of freedom always said, “The liberation of South Africa without the liberation of other people would be meaningless.”