The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) along with various other Palestinian solidarity groups are set to stage a march to parliament on Wednesday16th July, against the brutal Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip. The demonstration will be held in the hopes of persuading local government to recall the South African ambassador to Israel, as well as expel the Israeli ambassador from the country.
MJC president Maulana Ighsaan Hendricks condemned the “collective punishment” being meted out to the Palestinian people in the region, saying the offensive was a flare up of the continued illegal occupation being conducted by Israel. However, despite the dire situation, Hendricks heaped praise of the Palestinians for their many years of resistance against oppression, and for their uncompromising position that they were a people that deserved freedom and liberation.
Discussing the planned demonstration, he urged the community to come out in their numbers in solidarity with the people of Gaza. He also called on members of the ulema to motivate and prepare the communities to participate in the march. The march will take place from Keizergracht and follow the usual route to Parliament.
“We have a conscious and collective responsibility, not as the Muslim community but as South African community. We repeatedly make reference to the saying of Nelson Mandela, that we cannot enjoy our freedom, as long as the Palestinian people remain under occupation,” he said.
Entering the fourth day of the offensive ‘Operation Protective Edge’, reports from the Gaza Health Ministry put the civilian death toll at 101 on Friday, mostly women and children. More than 675 others have been injured in the attacks, with Israeli officials reporting that over 1,100 targets have been hit since the start of the week.
Hendricks said it was important that ordinary South Africans were mobilised by the memory of their own struggles under Apartheid, and used that as motivation to come out and support the Palestinian cause for justice.
He also highlighted the importance of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign, and called on the community to give respect to, and support the initiative. He pointed out the massive success of the BDS, since its inception.
“We have seen the very successful results of the BDS campaign. Prior to its launch, there were many emotional expressions, but now with the capacity and professionalism of the BDS campaign, they have had very successful stories,” he said.
According to the Israeli military, they have so far mobilised 40,000 reservists for a possible ground offensive in Gaza. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)