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Palestine’s ‘South Africa moment’ recognised at Anti-Apartheid Conference

by Zahid Jadwat

The inaugural Global Anti-Apartheid Conference on Palestine saw delegates fervently seek strategies to combat apartheid and occupation in Palestine. Many saw this as Palestine’s “South Africa moment”.

On Friday, the opening day, Palestine’s ambassador to South Africa, Hanan Jarrar, said: “We hope that this conference will constitute the first step to exploring the possibility of really launching a global movement against Israeli apartheid”.

There was a positive atmosphere when participants from around the world gathered at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, last weekend. Some hailed from as far away from South African shores as Ireland. A number of Palestinians were themselves active in the workshops.

Despite the ongoing genocide in Gaza, there was lively talk about the months since 7 October being Palestine’s “South Africa moment”. Freedom was imminent, many said.


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Palestine’s ‘South Africa moment’

Addressing delegates via videolink from Amman, Jordan, Palestinian-American journalist Ali Abunimah was of the view that Palestine’s “South Africa moment” had arrived. He said the “real struggle” against new forms of colonialism was only just beginning.

This referred to South Africa on the eve of democracy, in the early 1990s, when the apartheid regime was beginning to fall apart and the struggle movement made inroads.

Ronnie Kasrils, an anti-apartheid activist and patron of the conference, emphasised the Palestinians’ right of resistance “against tyranny” and “military occupation”.

“There is no need to twist a foot around the fact, when we have our discussions, about the right of the Palestinians to resist with arms,” he said, before reiterating the importance of international solidarity “for a just cause”.


Meanwhile, an overwhelming number of countries backed the Palestinian bid for full UN membership on Friday. A total of 143 voted in favour of the resolution called on the same body’s Security Council to afford the country full membership. 


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