PRESS STATEMENT: Three South Africans arrested by Israeli Forces in East Jerusalem

26 June 2016

The human rights and Palestine solidarity organisation BDS South Africa is concerned by reports of three South Africans citizens arrested by Israeli forces.

It has been reported that Israeli soldiers kidnapped Saleh Bader Abu ‘Assab and Mohammad Naseef, in addition to three South African citizens (http://imemc.org/article/israeli-army-kidnaps-eleven-palestinians-three-south-africans-in-the-west-bank-injures-five/).

According to news reports, Israeli soldiers and right-wing Israeli settlers stormed the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa mosque in Occupied East Jerusalem (Palestine). Israeli forces assaulted several Palestinian worshipers who protested against the Israeli provocations. It is reported that the Israeli forces also prevented any worshiper below the age of 30 from entering the mosque. At least five persons were reported injured during the clashes between the worshipers and the invading Israeli soldiers.

BDS South Africa calls on the South African Ambassador in Tel Aviv, the South African Representative in Ramallah and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) to urgently investigate the matter and ensure the safety of our South African citizens and that their rights are not being violated. BDS SA has registered its concerns with DIRCO and look forward to receiving relevant feedback.
 
In September 2000 right wing Israeli leader Ariel Sharon together with heavily armed Israeli forces also carried out a provocative tour of the Al Aqsa mosque compound leading to various protests and resulting in violence. According to analysts, the controversial visit was clearly intended to incite and provoke.
Earlier this year, the United Nations cultural heritage body UNESCO, in an adopted resolution, condemned Israel for limiting Palestinian access to Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound. The resolution passed with 26 votes for and six against (including the United States, Britain and Germany against). There were 25 abstentions including France. Israeli officials were enraged, with Benjamin Netanyahu calling it “yet another absurd UN decision”.

The UNESCO resolution, diplomats said, also reaffirmed that two holy sites in the Palestinian West Bank (the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem) “are an integral part of Palestine”.

Israel is known to prevent worship by Palestinian Christians and Muslims particularly in Jerusalem. Earlier this year during Easter Palestinian Christians were severly affected by Israeli measures: http://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/5311/0/israel-is-preventing-christians-from-worshipping-freely-in-the-holy-land-during-easter

 

ISSUED BY KWARA KEKANA ON BEHALF OF BDS SOUTH AFRICA
 
BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS AGAINST ISRAEL IN SOUTH AFRICA (BDS SOUTH AFRICA)
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