- Communist Party of Swaziland
- Messages for - The Passing of Amos Mbedzi
- Palestine situation addressed at ANC Regional Conference
- President Nicolas Maduro Arrives in Algeria
Communist Party of Swaziland
07 June 2022
CPS message of condolences to family of South African internationalist Comrade Amos Mbedzi
Tuesday 7 June 2022:- The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) has learnt of the sad news that South African internationalist Comrade Amos Mbulaheni Mbedzi (57) passed away this morning.
Comrade Amos died in Polokwane Provincial Hospital, South Africa, while serving an 85-year sentence after conviction by the Mswati autocracy’s courts in 2012, following arrest in September 2008.
The CPS conveys its heartfelt message of condolences to Comrade Amos’ Mbedzi’s family. His family has endured years of suffering following the Mswati regime’s unjustified refusal to release him from jail even after Comrade Amos suffered from illness.
The CPS also sends its message of condolences to the entire liberation movement of Swaziland which benefitted immensely from his selfless solidarity, and to the South African liberation movement. He was a member of the SACP, Swaziland Solidarity Network, and former member of the uMkhonto WeSizwe.
Comrade Amos Mbedzi gave his life serving the people of Swaziland. He was arrested in September 2008, charged under Swaziland’s draconian Terrorism Act. When the regime failed to prove terrorism, it ridiculously changed the charge to murder of his two comrades, Musa “MJ” Dlamini and Jack Govender, who tragically lost their lives in September 2008 in a bomb blast. Comrade Amos survived the blast but was heavily injured. The regime also charged him with sedition, violation of Swaziland’s immigration law and unlawful possession of explosives.
Comrade Amos fell sick while serving his 85-year sentence. After long neglect by the Mswati autocracy, the autocracy secretly transferred him to South Africa in March this year, in a futile attempt to cleanse its bloodied hands, fearing that he might die while jailed in Swaziland.
In memory of Comrade Amos Mbulaheni Mbedzi, the CPS calls for the unity of the people of Swaziland to wage a relentless fight, under the “Democracy Now” campaign, for the complete dismantling of the tinkhundla system which has oppressed the people of Swaziland for about five decades.
Long live the undying spirit of Comrade Amos Mbulaheni Mbedzi!
Long live working-class internationalism!
Issued by the Communist Party of Swaziland
Thokozane Kenneth Kunene
(+27)72 594 3971
MEDIA STATEMENT - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Messages for - The Passing of Amos Mbedzi
NEHAWU MOURNS THE PASSING OF COMRADE AMOS MBEDZI
Tuesday June 07, 2022
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] is deeply saddened by the passing of Comrade Amos Mbedzi, an internationalist, freedom fighter and political prisoner. Comrade Mbedzi passed on today, Tuesday 7th June while serving an 85-year jail sentence under the Tinkundla Regime.
NEHAWU conveys its deep and heartfelt condolences to the Mbedzi family, friends and comrades in the Mass Democratic Movement (MDM) and Swaziland Solidarity Network. We wish his family strength and courage during this difficult moment.
Comrade Mbedzi dedicated his life to the struggle for the freedom of our people and championed the struggle for a democratic Swaziland against the brutal and repressive Tinkhundla Regime. The people of Swaziland have experienced repression since the 1973 decree banning all political parties, trade union movement and other progressive formations fighting for democracy.
The Tinkhundla Regime has over the years, imprisoned and tortured many political activists, who stood opposed to the regime. There are many political prisoners languishing in Swazi jails. Comrade Mbedzi was among those political prisoners. Comrade Mbedzi fell sick while serving his 85-year sentence. After long neglect by the Mswati Regime, the regime secretly transferred him to South Africa in March this year, in a futile attempt to cleanse its bloodied hands, fearing that he might die while jailed in Swaziland.
We remain deeply concerned that for a considerable period of time, the South African government could not take the country into confidence regarding the whereabouts of Comrade Mbedzi, including why he remained detained in South Africa instead of being released, especially when he desperately needed medical treatment he was denied for many years. Our government should shed more light on the circumstances of his death.
In memory of Comrade Mbedzi, the national union [NEHAWU] will continue campaigning for the dismantling of the Mswati dictatorship, for a democratic Swaziland and the release of all political prisoners and remain consistent in support of these demands by the people of Swaziland until they are realised. NEHAWU reiterates its solidarity support to the struggle of the people of Swaziland for democracy.
Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat
Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968; December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969; Lwazi Nkolonzi (NEHAWU National Spokesperson) at 081 558 2335 or email: email@example.com
Visit NEHAWU website: www.nehawu.org.za
South African Communist Party
7 June 2022
SACP conveys a message of condolences on the death of Comrade Amos Mbulaheni Mbedzi
The South African Communist Party (SACP) conveys its deepest condolences to the family of Comrade Amos Mbulaheni Mbedzi. Mbedzi passed away on Tuesday, 7 June 2022, in Polokwane.
The SACP also sends its condolences to the South African liberation movement for the great loss encountered. Comrade Amos Mbedzi served our democratic movement diligently as a member of the SACP, the ANC and the joint SACP and ANC liberation army, Umkhonto weSizwe (MK).
The ruling Swazi regime arrested him in September 2008 and later unjustly convicted and sentenced him to 85 years’ imprisonment, comprising concurrent sentences. On the same day when he was arrested, he had lost his two comrades, Comrade Musa “MJ” Dlamini, a member of People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) of Swaziland, and Comrade Jack Govender, a member of the SACP, who was also a founding member of the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN).
Mbedzi was still serving his prison sentence at the time of his death, having been transferred to South Africa by the cruel regime of Mswati in March 2022 after depriving him of access to healthcare for a long time, resulting in his health and wellbeing deteriorating. The regime of the absolute monarch transferred Mbedzi “to complete his sentence in South Africa” after realising that its intransigent decision to deprive him of healthcare had caused ultimate deterioration in his health and wellbeing.
However, being ruthless, with a do-not-care approach to human rights, Mswati’s autocratic regime did not transfer Mbedzi to South Africa without consistent public pressure, among others by the SACP, Congress of South African Trade Unions, PUDEMO, the Communist Party of Swaziland, the SSN, the Young Communist League of South Africa, as well as by other human rights organisations and concerned people. Mswati’s courts are not independent. They are under the iron fist of the absolute monarch. Because of this, they had no slightest intention of releasing Mbedzi on humanitarian grounds considering his deteriorating health and wellbeing.
An internationalist till the end, South Africa’s 1994 democratic breakthrough did not deter Comrade Amos Mbedzi from contributing to the struggle for a just world. He linked up with democracy activists from Swaziland, primarily PUDEMO, to provide international solidarity to the people of Swaziland struggling for democracy and complete social emancipation. During his life, he also contributed to spreading the SSN, led by its chairperson, Comrade Solly Mapaila, the SACP First Deputy General Secretary, across the length and breadth of South Africa.
The SACP also conveys its message of condolences to the people of Swaziland struggling for democracy and complete social emancipation, as well as the SSN, and urges them to continue the struggle for freedom, in memory of Comrade Amos Mbedzi. It was for his solidarity with the people of Swaziland struggling for democracy and complete social emancipation that the regime of the absolute monarch in Swaziland systematically produced Mbedzi’s death.
The SACP was an active part of the Save Amos Mbedzi Campaign launched in September 2012 to call for his release and that of all other unjustly incarcerated political prisoners in Swaziland. The SACP took part in many protest actions over the years, consistently calling for Comrade Mbedzi’s release. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the violation of his human rights by the Swaziland authorities. It is their violation of Mbedzi’s human rights, which directly led to his death.
The SACP calls for justice for Comrade Amos Mbedzi and his comrades, as well as for all other unjustly incarcerated political prisoners and the people of Swaziland.
In memory of Comrade Amos Mbedzi, the SACP will continue to support the struggle by the people of Swaziland for the unconditional release of all political prisoners and unbanning of all political parties, freedom of speech, freedom of association, and political and other rights. This includes supporting the call for unconditional return of all political exiles, as well as the recognition and respect for people’s rights to freedom of assembly, association, movement and speech, including free media.
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Media & Communications South African communist Amos Mbedzi, who fought apartheid, dies a martyr for liberation of Swaziland
The South African Communist Party and the Communist Party of Swaziland along with several pro-democracy groups have vowed to continue the struggle for Swaziland’s liberation from the rule of King Mswati III, the last absolute monarch in Africa, for which Mbedzi paid the ultimate price June 08, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Communists and pro-democracy activists across Swaziland and South Africa are mourning the death of Amos Mbulaheni Mbedzi, a South African communist revolutionary who fought against the apartheid regime. He died on Tuesday, June 7, in the city of Polokwane, capital of South Africa’s Limpopo province. He had been serving a prison term in Swaziland but was transferred to South Africa to finish his remaining time in prison after it had become clear that he would not live for much longer, having been denied medical care in the Swazi prison. The 58-year-old had spent the last year of his life paralyzed and wheelchair bound, dependent on his fellow inmates in a maximum security prison in Swaziland.
After the end of apartheid in South Africa and the 1994 democratic elections, Mbedzi had moved to Swaziland to struggle for the liberation of its people from the last absolute monarch on the continent, King Mswati III.
“Comrade Amos Mbedzi gave his life serving the people of Swaziland. He was arrested in September 2008, charged under Swaziland’s draconian Terrorism Act. When the regime failed to prove terrorism, it ridiculously changed the charge for the murder of his two (own) comrades, Musa “MJ” Dlamini and Jack Govender, who tragically lost their lives in September 2008 in a bomb blast. Comrade Amos survived the blast but was heavily injured,” the Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) said in a statement. He was sentenced to 85 years of concurrent terms in prison.
“His deportation earlier this year was because it was evident that his life was nearing its end and it became convenient to send him to a South African prison to die. The regime had delivered a slow, inhumane and painful death to him by tormenting and draining the life out him in the most cruel fashions and (then) sent him to South African prison in an attempt to sanitize his image from the unjust incarceration that led to his untimely death,” said Swaziland Multistakeholder Forum.
“As Swazis, we shall never forget your sacrifice,” said the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS). “Just like Che Guevara, you sacrificed your life for the liberation of human beings. Pass our greetings to Musa Dlamini and Jack Govender,” it added, referring to Mbedzi’s comrades who died in the bomb blast on the day of his arrest. One of them was a SACP member and the other was a member of PUDEMO.
“In the memory of Comrade Amos Mbedzi, the SACP will continue to support the struggle by the people of Swaziland,” the South African Communist Party (SACP) said in its statement.
“In memory of Comrade Amos Mbulaheni Mbedzi, the CPS calls for the unity of the people of Swaziland to wage a relentless fight, under the “Democracy Now” campaign, for the complete dismantling of the.., (monarchy) which has oppressed the people of Swaziland for about five decades,” the CPS stated.
SSN Says Goodbye to Comrade Amos Mbedzi.
SSN STATEMENT: 7 June, 2022
The Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) wishes to extend its condolences to the Mbedzi family, the South African Communist Party, African National Congres, COSATU, PUDEMO and the Swaziland Mass Democratic Movement for the untimely passing of our dear Comrade Amos Mosiah Mbedzi.
Comrade Mbedzi was the footprint beneath our the feet that are walking towards the Freedom of eSwatini and her people. As SSN saying good bye to Comrade Mbedzi is like burying part of our souls. Saying good bye to Comrade Mbedzi feels like falling into a deep empty hole, lost into endless solitude of realising that we have to get through the worst storms with our spiritual beacon shuttered into many pieces. This is because after saying good bye to you Comrade Mbedzi every other word sounds empty. Ahead of us the future now looks painful, hostile and uncertain. And we ask ourselves: Why were you released just before your departure into a South African hospital? Why the devil has conspired against us? And as long as we live, if you can call it living with a broken heart, we shall get into the bottom of this our dear brother that we promise you.
Comrade Mbedzi was a freedom fighter for most of his adult life, after having joined Umkhonto we Sizwe at a very young age. His passion for freedom did not take a rest with the advent of democracy, and political freedom in South Africa. Given the vital role and the invaluable contribution of the Swazi People, in the course of our freedom and as an internationalist he believed that his own freedom was not complete if there were still people on the other side of the South African border who lived under an oppressive government devoid of basic human rights.
Comrade Mbedzi was so many different things. A truly great tracker and a marksman. He was a lot more than a brother.
There is one thing we can say he was not. That is afraid. He was not afraid. Never afraid of consequences or an impossible task or any kind of danger. No matter how hard or unfair life was to him. He loved life back. Embraced it without reservations, regrets or remorse. That is rare. We with more people were not afraid like him. And hope it will be some time before all our memories of him start to fade.
It was this belief which influenced him to join the Swaziland Solidarity Network in the nineties. He found a network of cadres and internationalists within the SSN and together they gave practical support to the struggle against the King Mswati Dictatorship. This is what led him to being unjustly imprisoned after witnessing his comrades tragically killed by an explosive device in September 2008.
Being the only surviving witness to that tragic event, Mbedzi was made a scapegoat by the state. After serving thirteen years of his eighty-five-year sentence, he was released in March this year. It became clear that his health, long neglected by the Swazi authorities, had dilapidated to the point whereby his demise was imminent.
Sadly, Mbedzi barely lasted three months out of king Mswati’s dungeons as he eventually succumbed to illness.
Our network is deeply saddened by his passing. However, we will forever be honoured to have been graced by his revolutionary spirit which has planted seeds amongst the Swazi population. We encourage all Swazis living under the yoke of oppression to invoke his spirit to embolden and enlighten them to finish their task of self-liberation.
Issued by the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN)
Lucky Lukhele spokesperson
0814585658 or 0725024141
PUDEMO STATEMENT ON THE PASSING AWAY OF COMRADE AMOS MBENDZI
07 June 2022
The People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) has received with a deep sense of sadness the news about the demise of Amos Mbedzi, our South African internationalist who spent a significant part of his life on the trenches offering practical solidarity to the oppressed and exploited people of Swaziland. We would like to express, on behalf of the people of Swaziland, our deepest condolences to the family, friends, comrades and entire South African community on the loss of this internationalist revolutionary.
Many of us knew Comrade Amos Mbedzi personally as a charismatic freedom fighter who had an infectious personality that was admired by many in PUDEMO and the ANC-led alliance in South Africa. He was truly an extraordinary activist whose utter devotion to others was without any thought of self; he had a rare sense of responsibility to humanity – he demonstrated to the people of Swaziland what communism is about. We salute his spirit of absolute selflessness.
Amos was a noble man. A son of the South African people from Limpopo, He was a soldier of Umkhonto Wesizwe (MK), South African Communist Party (SACP) stalwart, African National Congress (ANC) cadre and member of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (NEHAWU), a Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) affiliate.
He was drawn into the Swazi struggle by a very active group of internationalists who formed the Swaziland Solidarity Committee (SSC), later known as the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN). This group of advanced and disciplined cadres was officially commissioned by our late President, Mario Masuku, after several contacts and exploratory missions. This was to be a game-changer in the history of the Swazi struggle. Mbedzi played a pivotal role in the struggle for the liberation of the people of Swaziland. We are proud of his service to our struggle; he groomed and mentored many in our youth movement, the Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO) through his selfless bravery and unflinching commitment to the Swazi revolution. We shall never forget the important lessons about discipline, vigilance against enemy agents and absolute dedication to the cause of liberation.
We say with heavy hearts that Amos will be truly missed by all of us. He will forever be in our hearts and prayers. We offer our condolences to the family during this sad moment; our thoughts and prayers are with them.
We hold the Swazi monarchy responsible for the death of Comrade Amos Mbedzi, whose murder was orchestrated and implemented right inside their prison cells, after his arrest in September 2008 when he was unjustly convicted and sentenced to 85 years’ imprisonment. He was later transferred to a prison in his home country, South Africa, and at the time of his death, he was still serving his prison sentence. Mswati’s regime refused to release him on humanitarian grounds even when it was clear that his health was deteriorating.
In honour of Comrade Mbedzi, we shall pick up the spear and fight the Lobamba murderous regime. We commit to intensifying the struggle for the total liberation of the people of Swaziland. Our country will be free and the name of Amos Mbedzi will be engraved on the freedom wall. Rest in peace soldier of our revolution.
Rest in Revolutionary Power Cde Amos!
The struggle continues!
Issued by: Wandile Dludlu
PUDEMO Secretary General
Contacts: +268 76111676
Palestine situation addressed at ANC Regional Conference
June 4, 2022
The situation in Palestine and the similarities between South Africa and the occupation of Palestine by Israeli forces dominated the opening session of the 15th Greater Johannesburg Regional Conference on Friday.
Palestinian ambassador to South Africa, Hanan Jarrar, led the opening address highlighting the Palestinian’s struggle for self-determination and encouraged the ANC to continue lending its support to the people of Palestine whose struggle for freedom has been raging for more than 75 years.
Jarrar was welcomed in song and dance by ANC members of Greater Johannesburg who voiced their support and Solidarity with Palestinians amid chants of “we support free Palestine”.
Jarrar’s address comes a few weeks after the recent attack on pallbearers at the funeral of journalist Shireen Abu Aklem who was brutally killed by Israeli forces and other killings of Palestinian children and women by an uncaring and unjust regime that continues to wreck havoc against innocent people.
“We raise our fist with the ANC in unity as you undertake to renew and defend the South African democratic case. We look to the ANC as a catalyst for international solidarity with Palestine in our march for freedom, peace, justice and equality,” she said.
Jarrar said they look forward to seeing the city of Joburg back in the hands of ANC to re-establish the 2015 winning of city of Joburg and Palestinian City of Ramala.
“The ANC has embodied this solidarity and called to rename one Sandton's prominent road ‘Sandton Drive’ after Leila Khalid a member of a movement Popular Front Liberation of Palestine. We hope to see this coming into reality soon,” Jarrar said.
She said in the past 24 hours, three Palestinians were killed and one of them is a journalist who is a mother of two.
With the occupation of Palestine by Israeli forces having begun over 75 years ago and the ongoing attacks and oppression of Palestinians, Jarrar said she looks forward to a day when the people of Palestine would be free like the people of South Africa were able to end Apartheid.
We need the international community and for South Africa and like minded organizations such as the ANC to champion our campaign to free the people of Palestine from oppression. We look forward to an end of the oppression of the people of Palestine because no Apartheid regime stays for long. We believe that the occupation of Palestine will one day come to an end,” she said.
In a bid to put pressure on the world to act against the oppression of Palestinians which continues unabated almost 50 years since the occupation of Palestine by Israel in 1948.
Outgoing treasurer of the greater Johannesburg region, Dada Morero said the people of Palestine are not fighting against Jews but fighting for the right to exist in their own country.
“All sorts of methods have been used to keep Palestine population under control. The Israeli forces can even close water supply for three to six months for no reason in an effort to frustrate them. They even hire Ethiopian soldiers to work at national key points.
This is the same Apartheid experience but more extreme than the South African Apartheid experience.
The people of Palestine have been denied their rights to exist in their own land. It must be noted that the struggle of the people of Palestine is not a struggle against Jews, but a struggle is for a peaceful and just existence and coexistence,” Morero said.
Head of the ANC political school and former member of the mayoral committee in Johannesburg, Chris Vondo gave the first session's vote of thanks and encouraged the Palestine ambassador to mobilise the international community in finding solutions for Palestine to win its struggle for self-determination.
“Israeli Apartheid policies have contributed to the destruction of more than 700 Palestinian buildings, the killing of children and the killing of women and thousands of Palestinians people including journalists.
These policies of Israeli Apartheid contravene the 1973 United Nations Convention which declares that Apartheid policies are against human rights ...The success of the ANC led struggle against Apartheid was won on the ability of the ANC to mobilize support of the International community. The success of the ANC struggle for freedom was our ability to mobilize support.,” he said.
President Nicolas Maduro Arrives in Algeria
09 June 20222
The Bolivarian leader traveled to this African country after completing a first day of work in Türkiye, where he signed three bilateral cooperation agreements.
On Wednesday, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro arrived in the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, which is the second country he visits as part of an Eurasian tour aimed at expanding his country's international cooperation.
“We arrived in the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria within the framework of our international agenda. We are very happy to meet again and to be able to review our agenda of cooperation and complementarity, in favor of the peoples,” said the Bolivarian leader, who was received at the Houari Boumediene International Airport by Prime Minister Aimen Benabderrahmane and the Venezuelan ambassador to Algeria Jose Sojo.
Maduro trveled to this African country after completing a first day of work in Ankara, where he signed three bilateral cooperation agreements between Türkiye and Venezuela in matters related to tourism, agriculture, and finance.
Venezuela and Algeria have over 51 years of diplomatic relationship and previously signed cooperation agreements in energy, education, culture, trade and industry. In addition, within the framework of the bilateral Joint Commission held in February, representatives of both countries strengthened their cooperation in agriculture.
JOHANNESBURG: 2 June 2022 - From 24-27 May 2022, a South African Council of Churches (SACC) delegation joined former SACC General Secretary and Vice-President, the Rev Frank Chikane on his pastoral visit to Palestine/Israel, fulfilling his commitment to travel to the Holy Land that had been hindered by the onset of the Coronavirus and the subsequent travel restrictions.
The Rev Chikane travelled in his capacity as the Moderator of the Churches Commission on International Affairs (CCIA) of the WCC and Emeritus Pastor of the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa (AFM). The delegation included Rev Mzwandile Molo, the Director - Church Liaison & Community Empowerment for the SACC, and Rev. Moss Ntlha, the General Secretary of The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa (TEASA) and a pastor of the Ebenezer Evangelical Church. The primary objectives of the visit were:
To be in solidarity with and pay pastoral visits to the victims of the 55 years of occupation by Israel and the gross violation of their human rights, including those of Arab Israelis within Israel;
To interact with the leaders of Churches, community leaders and the leadership of the Palestinian and Israeli government; and
To attend and speak at the annual "Christ at the Checkpoint" Conference in Bethlehem, Palestine.
“In traveling to the Holy Land, we set the intention to prayerfully explore ways and means in which the 55 years occupation of Palestine by Israel can be ended, and peace achieved,” said Rev Chikane. This intention was carried across all the interactions with the leaders of the churches, communities and that of the governments of the people of Palestine and Israel.
The delegation paid a courtesy call to the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude, Patriarch Theophilos 111; the Prime Minister of Palestine, the Foreign Minister and the Chief of Justice; Human Rights organisations in Israel and Palestine; and visited the Al Bustan neighbourhood of Silwan and that of Sheik Jarrar who are under threat of forced evictions and removals based on the 1972 law passed by the Israeli Knesset which gives rights to Jewish Israelis to reclaim land that Israeli Jews previously owned, which right is not granted to Palestinians or Arab Israelis.
Rev Chikane lamented the pain and suffering of the people of Palestine: “We witnessed immense pain from the restrictions imposed by the Israeli security forces and the subsequent displacement of the Palestinian people. We believe that God cannot watch the unending pain and suffering of the people of Palestine and those who are racially discriminated against within Israel and turn a blind eye to it."
Over and above the Reports of Amnesty International, B'Tselem and Human Rights Watch which declare Israel an Apartheid State, the South African delegation could see the blatant apartheid in the laws and enforcement of the illegal occupation. In fact they found the system to be more than Apartheid South Africa where at least there were civilian courts rather than military courts and military rules.
During a media briefing on the visit, Chikane emphasised the call on the international community, including the churches globally not to ignore the conflict in Israel/Palestine, particularly where evidence of an apartheid state has been established. “Having lived through the apartheid regime in South Africa, we were quickly able to draw parallels between present-day Israel/Palestine and South Africa under apartheid rule. We fought the injustices imposed on us as Africans - supported by the world; and it is our turn to stand in solidarity with Palestine in challenging the same oppressive practices and beliefs carried out by Israel,” he said.
A full report on the visit is being compiled and will be made public in due course.
55 years after Six-Day War, we must move beyond partition and Apartheid
03 June 2022
By Mike Merryman-Lotze, UPDATED Jun 3, 2022 This week marks 55 years since the Six-Day War in 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the Syrian Golan.
Over the past 55 years, Israel's occupation has transformed into a system of apartheid that denies Palestinians their basic rights regardless of their location. More than 40% of Palestinian men have been imprisoned over the course of the occupation, locked up by an unjust military court system that has a 99.7% conviction rate. Over 50,000 Palestinian homes have been destroyed since 1967. Torture, beatings, detention without trial, assassination, displacement, dispossession, movement restrictions, limited access to resources—these are the abuses that have become routine as a result of the occupation.
The occupation is dehumanizing to both Palestinians and Israelis, and it must end.
But as we talk about 55 years of occupation and what it means, we must also reflect on the last 29 years of failed negotiations and ensure that when we call for change, we do not simply call for a return to the same processes that have led to a further entrenchment of the occupation. We must understand that to date, all international efforts to end the occupation have placed as their central goal the finalization of the partition process, which was set in motion by the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan. However, the occupation of 55 years ago is itself a product of the failed partition that began 70 years ago—and the injustice that was core to that process. And partition itself was also just a symptom of the Settler Colonial process that led to the creation of Israel. Attempting to bring peace by completing partition fails to acknowledge the colonial processes that led to partition and the fundamental injustice created by partition.
To move forward now, we must move beyond partition. We must understand that peace will not be achieved through the building of walls, the segregation of people, and the dividing of populations.
There are Palestinians and Israelis who are struggling to end the current Apartheid reality. These are the people that AFSC supports through our work and whose voices we must lift up. These are the Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists who have come together at various points over the last several years to resist forced displacement and settlement building in Jerusalem, South Hebron, and the Negev. These are the villagers of Bilin, Nilin, Nebi Saleh, and other locations who have nonviolently protested the confiscation of their land for years with support from Israeli and international activists. These are the Palestinians in Gaza who continue to call for freedom while living under a brutal blockade. These are the Palestinian initiators of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions call who have demanded action to end occupation, realize refugee rights, and achieve equality—as well as the growing movement of people who have responded to that call.
Peace will come when apartheid is ended, justice is achieved, and all people are free. These goals—freedom, justice, equality— must be what we seek as we work to realize peace between Palestinians and Israelis.
Issued by NEHAWU International Service Centre
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