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Shopsteward Volume 27: Special Bulletin

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BDS Message of support to the COSATU Central Committee

29 May 2017

Receive warm revolutionary greetings from the boycott, divestments, and sanctions against Israel movement in South Africa. We extend our sincere message of gratitude to the leadership COSATU and its affiliates for giving BDS SA an opportunity to interact with workers.

Comrade Chairperson of the session 2017 marks 69years since Palestinians were expelled and ethnically cleansed from their homeland in the process of the creation of the modern state of Israel in 1948, 2017 also marks 50years of the Israeli occupation of Palestine which means Palestinians live with a 24hour military presence, are unable to control access to basic resources such water in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), are unable to access certain lifesaving medical services, Palestinians are also not allowed to live in the Jewish only Israeli settlements-which are illegal under international law, based In the OPTs and are unable to travel freely in and out of the OPTs.

Military occupations based on the legal definition are meant to temporary, however it does not seem to be the case where Israel is concerned. With the deteriorating situation in Palestine in all facets of life, it becomes imperative and incumbent upon those of us who President Tambo characterises as "those who are free to eat and sleep at will, to write, to speak, to travel as we please; we who are free to make or break a revolution, let us use our comparative freedom, not to perpetuate the misery of those who suffer, nor give indirect aid to the enemy they fight by withholding our own contribution".

2017 also marks 12years since the call to boycott, divest and impose sanctions against Israel was issued by Palestinian civil society organisation, since then there has been major and significant victories registered particularly by the trade union movement, with the latest victory coming from Norway's largest trade union federation, representing over a million workers, this May 2017, adopted full boycott of Israel to advance Palestinian rights.

In Brazil trade union federations, such CUT and others played a key role in the campaign for a military embargo and helped to lead a successful campaign that led to the state of Rio Grande do Sul cancelling a major collaboration deal with Israel's military company Elbit systems.

The global BDS movement has come under heavy attack from the Israeli regime, indicative of the potency and effectiveness of the movement. Israel in 2014 characterised it as a strategic threat, in 2016 Israel Ministers said that they will be embarking of "targeted civilian assassinations of BDS activists", with the Israeli parliament passing legislation barring BDS activists from entering Israel. There is an urgent need for the international community particularly here in South Africa to intensify isolation campaigns against Israel, especially various of government sanctions, such as governments affirming the right to do BDS and protecting human rights defenders similar to what the Dutch, Norwegian and Swedish governments have done, we also call on for a downgrading of the South African embassy in Tel-Aviv to a representative office, the South African government foreign policy needs to express great disapproval to the blatant disregard for Palestinian human rights and the disrespect for international law by the Israeli regime.

We thank COSATU, its affiliates and the entire membership for the continued commitment to international solidarity, we hope to register more concrete victories against Israel in 2017 together as we commemorate 100 years of Oliver Tambo.

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On behalf of BDS SA
Kwara Kekana