South Africa must stand up to Israeli apartheid

The separation wall in the West Bank. (photo: Reuters)

A generation after South Africans won their freedom, Palestinians remain in bondage.

By Ali Abunimah | Mail & Guardian | Mar 14, 2018

Inspired by South Africa’s freedom struggle, BDS aims to mobilize people all over the world to do what governments won’t — apply pressure on Israel until it respects all the rights of the Palestinian people.

A year ago, the UN published a landmark report on Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people. It found “beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crimes of apartheid.”

This was no rash conclusion, but one the authors reached after meticulous analysis of the evidence and law — especially the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.

Palestinians hailed the report as a milestone in their struggle to see Israel held accountable for its brutal, decades long denial of their rights. But Israel’s powerful patrons had other plans. Immediately, the US government, Israel’s biggest arms supplier, began to threaten the United Nations.

Israel lobbed its usual smears against the authors, renowned international law expert Richard Falk and political scientist Virginia Tilley, and its foreign ministry described their sober study as akin to Nazi propaganda. Quickly, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres caved in to pressure and withdrew the report from the UN website.

Rima Khalaf, the head of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the body that published it, resigned in protest at this censorship.

“I resigned because it is my duty not to conceal a clear crime, and I stand by all the conclusions of the report,” Khalaf stated.

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