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COSATU Today  |  COSATU Press Statements

Media alert

March through Gaza

The media, and members of the public, are invited to a press briefing to bid farewell to the South Africans who will be joining the March through Gaza on New Year’s Eve to protest against Israeli oppression of the people of Palestine (see below). The details are:

DATE: Sunday 27 December 2009

TIME: 16h30

VENUE: Intercontinental Hotel, OR Tambo Airport, Johannesburg

The Egyptian Government is trying to stop the march from going ahead but the South African delegation intends crossing into Gaza to join the international delegation.

For further information, please contact the COSATU International Relations Secretary, Bongani Masuku, on 079 499 6419

COSATU delegation to join the Gaza Freedom March!

Issued by COSATU, 9 December 2009

This new years eve, 31 December 2009, a COSATU delegation will join other South Africans, including former Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils, and thousands of people from around the world in the historic Gaza Freedom March to the Erez border crossing between Gaza and Israel. The aim of the march is to focus international attention on the ongoing and inhumane siege of Gaza and its population of 1.5 million people.

Marking the one-year anniversary of the December 2008 Israeli massacre that killed more than 1,400 people – mostly civilians - thousands of Arab and Jewish activists, intellectuals, artists, professionals, trade unionists, human rights activists, Holocaust survivors, among others will express solidarity with beleaguered Palestinians in Gaza.

COSATU will join the march to pledge our continued support for the freedom of all Palestinians, for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and, specifically, for the lifting of the siege on Gaza.

Israel’s blockade of Gaza is an unashamed violation of international law and is collective punishment which has led to massive suffering. For South Africans who lived through our own crime against humanity – apartheid - we cannot but fully support the condemnation by United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Richard Falk, of Israel’s siege of Gaza as a “crime against humanity”.

Amnesty International has called the Gaza blockade a “form of collective punishment of the entire population of Gaza, a flagrant violation of Israel`s obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention”. Human Rights Watch has called it a “serious violation of international law”. The law is clear. Yet, the siege of Gaza continues, along with the myriad of other illegal acts Israel continues to perpetrate within the Palestinian territories and against Palestinians.

As COSATU joins the call for an end to the inhumane siege on Gaza, our broader support for an end to the Israeli occupation continues. This week COSATU is in the United Kingdom working with trade unions and solidarity movements there to build support for a global campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

We say to Palestinians: We will be with you in Gaza; the workers of South Africa, through COSATU, will continue to support your struggle for freedom, because we believe, as our great leader, Nelson Mandela said: “Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

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