PRESS ALERT
Rallies in South Africa against Israeli violence at Aqsa Mosque in Palestine

26 July 2017

Later today and in this week protest actions are being rolled out in Cape Town, Johannesburg and other South African cities against Israel’s siege on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and recent restriction on movement and religion as well as the Israeli regime’s increased violence against the Palestinians which have left four young Palestinians dead in less than a week.

Here are some of the protests taking place:

CAPE TOWN PUBLIC PROTEST
DATE: Wednesday, 26 July at 11am-1pm
VENUE: Keizergracht Street, Cape Town CBD
SPEAKERS: Chief Mandla Mandela (MP) as well leadership of MJC, Al Quds Foundation, Palestine Museum among others including interfaith inputs
CONTACT: 0794945786
MAIN ORGANIZERS: MJC, Al Quds Foundation, NC4P and others

JOHANNESBURG RALLY
DATE: Wednesday 26 July at 19h30
VENUE: Baitun Noor Hall, Corner Topaas
SPEAKERS: Reverend Thulani Ndlazi (United Congregational Church of Southern Africa), visiting Palestinian youth activists Ahed Tamimi and Janna Jihad, Ml, Suliman Ravat (Radio and TV presenter), Kwara Kekana (BDS SA Spokesperson) among others
CONTACT: 0823366711
MAIN ORGANIZERS: Palestine Solidarity Alliance, MRN, BDS SA and others

CAPE TOWN PICKET
DATE: Thursday, 27 July 12pm-2pm
VENUE: Wale Street, Cape Town
CONTACT: 0794945786
MAIN ORGANIZERS: MJC, Al Quds Foundation, NC4P and others

CAPE TOWN PICKET
DATE: Thursday, 27 July 2pm-3pm
VENUE: Wale Street, Cape Town
CONTACT: 0794945786
MAIN ORGANIZERS: MJC, Al Quds Foundation, NC4P and others

In the last week, four Palestinian youth between the ages of 17 and 20 have been killed by Israel (click here). The Israeli killings of Palestinians come following new Israeli restrictions on Palestinian holy sites and specifically in East Jerusalem including the Al-aqsa mosque where Israel has imposed new so called security measures and barring Palestinian men under the age of 50 from the holy site. These among other Israeli restrictions have led to the recent Aqsa protests (click here). The Israeli restrictions have been described as coercive in character more than a security measure and is viewed as an extension of Israel’s larger illegal occupation and specially its occupation of East Jerusalem.

Palestinian non-violent prayers and demonstrations are currently taking place across Jerusalem and the West Bank in protest against these recent increased restrictions by Israel on Palestinian freedom of movement and religion, particularly in East Jerusalem and at the Al Aqsa mosque. Israel is illegally occupying and controlling East Jerusalem with Israel’s domination of Palestinian holy sites in East Jerusalem, both Christian and Muslim, being in violation of international law. South Africa among other countries do not recognize Israel’s occupation and control of East Jerusalem nor of the Old City and the Al-Aqsa mosque or Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The Israeli restrictions on Palestinian Muslim holy sites are similar to Israeli restrictions on Palestinian Christian holy sites. During Easter, Israel routinely obstructs Palestinian Christians from praying at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in East Jerusalem (click here for 2013, click here for 2014, click here for 2015, click here for 2016, click here for 2017). Christian and Muslim Palestinians gathered over the weekend in front of the Nativity Church in Bethlehem in Palestine to protest against Israeli violence at the Al- Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Palestinian Christian Jalal Barham, spokesman for the Arab Orthodox Youth Caucus said: “Today we stand in front of the Nativity Church, the cradle of Jesus Christ to say there is no difference between Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. There is no difference between the gates of Al-Aqsa and the gates of the churches of the Holy Sepulchre and the Nativity…we affirm that we are one people, and our history is one – Muslim and Christian, our people will not accept [this]. We will continue to fight for the freedom and dignity of our Islamic and Christian sanctities.” (click here)

As South Africans, witnessing the non-violent demonstrations by the indigenous Palestinians against Israel’s occupation and oppression, we are painfully reminded of the protests by our own youth during the 70s and 80s against Apartheid South Africa. Israel tries to suggest that this is a religious conflict, and some fanatical Israelis believe it to be such by advancing the destruction of Palestinian holy sites including the Al-aqsa mosque and Palestinian Christians churches (click here), but in essence, like our own struggle, even though there were some fanatical religious Afrikaaners, this is primarily an issue of an indigenous people, the Palestinians, demanding equality and freedom from an occupying power – Israel. Jerusalem resident Jalal Abukhater has explained that: “The spirit of unity amongst Jerusalemites today has been extraordinary. People from all walks of life, practicing Muslims and non-practicing Muslims and even Christians, have taken part in directly protesting the closure of Al-Aqsa. We all recognize the significance of this battle, and so we all resist.” (click here)

ISSUED BY KWARA KEKANA ON BEHALF OF BDS SOUTH AFRICA

 

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