By Haidar Eid – Gaza
The current situation in Occupied Palestine has been well-documented elsewhere. The statistics show higher levels of Palestinian deaths, disabilities, home demolitions and poverty than at any other time since the dispossession of Palestinians in 1948. The international siege against the Palestinians of Gaza following the democratic election in January 2006 has led to an almost total collapse of all economic activity.
At the same time, there is an internal crisis of political leadership, with the Palestinian factions being unable to agree to the terms of a unity government. This has left Palestinian civil society divided at a time when it is imperative that Palestinians show unity against the Israeli occupation. This is why we believe that the example of South Africa has a role to play in Palestine today.
Not only can we learn about Israel by examining apartheid in South Africa, but we can also help to take the Palestinian cause forward by learning from the South African anti-apartheid struggle, the manner in which it framed its objectives and the strategies and tactics that it used. Particularly, the successful campaign by the South African liberation forces in the isolation of the South African apartheid state is an experience we can examine and then adopt from and employ whatever might be useful in the new apartheid context.
Learning from the South African Struggle
The South African struggle against apartheid, it is generally understood, was based on “four pillars”. These were:
1. International solidarity and international isolation of the apartheid state;
2. The internal resistance;
3. The armed struggle; and
4. The underground movement.
It is also generally accepted that the first two of these pillars were the most significant and effective in bringing about an end to the brutal and racist apartheid state.
There are a number of socio-economic differences between the apartheid context in Palestine and apartheid South Africa and these need to be seriously considered by Palestinian activists. Nevertheless, a Palestinian campaign for the isolation of the apartheid state of Israel needs to be given careful focus in order that it becomes an important “pillar” in the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and dignity as a people. In the South African context this campaign included a number of focus areas. These included:
• Military sanctions against the apartheid state;
• Political and diplomatic isolation;
• Economic sanctions;
• An academic boycott; and
• A cultural and sporting boycott.
After almost complete isolation through all of the above (together with the internal resistance within South Africa), the South African apartheid regime was finally forced to make certain compromises and the world saw the unbanning of the various liberation movements and the beginning of the negotiations that led to South Africa’s first democratic election and the beginning of the attempt to realise “one person, one vote in a non-racial, non-sexist democratic South Africa”.
All of the above as focus areas are up for consideration in the struggle to isolate apartheid Israel. They need to be examined in terms of their efficacy in the South African struggle and adapted to be used in the Palestinian struggle. Each one of the above will require detailed programmes of action; will have to be resourced with information, material, propaganda and activists; and will need to have its own structures to take it forward in a coordinated and effective manner.
Gaza-based BDS Group
The Gaza Strip is the most densely populated place Earth. More than two-thirds of its inhabitants are refugees, or their decedents, and more than half are under eighteen years of age. Since 2006, Israel has launched six devastating wars against Gaza’s largely defenceless population. Thousands have been killed, and tens of thousands have been left homeless. In the meantime, Israel has subjected Gaza to a merciless genocidal blockade after the 2006 legislative council elections.
The question, then, is how to keep up the fight against this form of oppression? What is there to learn from the anti-apartheid struggle?
Our BDS experience is a good. We are part of this global campaign, which is Palestinian-led, and fighting for freedom, justice and equality
Our local BDS group is made up of individuals from across Palestinian society and includes academics, university students, documentary film-makers, medical doctors and political activists from across the political spectrum. It is a branch of the Boycott National Committee (BNC), the broadest Palestinian civil society coalition that works to lead and support the BDS movement.
Our group was formed to spearhead activities in the Gaza Strip. It is not directly linked to any political organisation, but is instead, rooted in civil society.
It, therefore, welcomes membership from all political factions but views itself as a broad-based Palestinian civil society movement whose raison d’etre is to isolate the state of Israel in the manner of the Anti-Apartheid Movement against Apartheid South Africa.
That is why we have been conducting an ongoing campaign to raise awareness about the importance of the boycott of Israel as a means of weakening the state of Israel. The campaign takes the view that the boycott of Israel is a struggle in which every Palestinian can take part and aims to highlight the ways in which this can be done.
As part of the BDS campaign, we aim to coordinate with, and lobby, international, Arab and Islamic solidarity movements and boycott campaigns to strengthen the movement against apartheid Israel.
Over the few years of its existence, the Gaza-based BDS group has engaged in some of the following activities:
• Met with several Gaza and West Bank-based NGO’s and civil society organisations
• Initiated public lectures, in which activists, researchers and politicians discuss the rationale for a boycott of Israel and how Palestinians can participate.
• Screened documentaries in schools, universities and clubs about the international campaigns to isolate Israel in an attempt to raise an internationalist consciousness in Palestine
• Published articles and research in journals and magazines on the topic.
• Lobbied the universities and other organisations to support the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
• Built links with Palestinian organisations in the West Bank, 48 Palestine and in the Diaspora
• Organized Israeli Apartheid Week activities
• Lobbied Legislative Council members to support BDS
• Participated online in numerous activities with international solidarity groups
• Organized concerts in support of cultural boycott
We believe that the cause behind Israel’s “incremental genocide”—as Ilan Pappe calls it—of the Palestine of Gaza is the fact that they are not born to Jewish mothers! But we are also certain, not unlike the South Africa of the late 1980’s, that this is the darkest hour that is just before the dawn of freedom, justice and equality.
– Dr. Haidar Eid is an Associate Professor at the Department of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, Palestine. He is also a one-state activist and a member of Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). He contributed this article this article to PalestineChronicle.com.
Qatari Labor Minister Leads Fruitful Labor Conference With Key Recommendations
The 111th session of the International Labor Conference successfully concluded under the leadership of Ali bin Sameegh Al-Marri, the Minister of Labor from Qatar. The conference received international praise from representatives of governments, employers, and workers within the International Labor Organization for its achievements in promoting social justice and creating decent job opportunities.
Ali Al-Marri was unanimously elected as the President of the International Labor Conference during its 111th session. This marks the first time an Arab minister has held this prestigious position since the organization’s establishment in 1919. Qatar’s election as the conference’s chair recognizes the country’s significant contributions to labor and development, leading to a safe and healthy work environment.
During his closing speech at the conference, Chairman Ali Al-Marri emphasized that Qatar’s presidency reaffirmed its commitment to supporting collaborative efforts and multilateral cooperation in achieving sustainable development goals. He expressed gratitude to the member states for entrusting Qatar with the conference’s leadership.
Al-Marri highlighted the conference as a crucial platform for governments and social partners to engage in dialogue and joint action concerning contemporary labor issues. Despite facing some challenges, the 111th session successfully fulfilled its ambitious agenda thanks to the collective efforts of all participants.
The conference and its committees produced important outcomes that will contribute to the organization’s efforts, as well as member states, in improving the world of work. The Committee on Apprenticeships, in particular, showcased the power of social dialogue and achieved significant results through vibrant negotiations, cooperation, and the exchange of experiences.
— وكالة الأنباء القطرية (@QatarNewsAgency) June 16, 2023
Recognizing the importance of quality apprenticeships in addressing the evolving world of work, Al-Marri stressed their role in promoting social justice, decent living conditions, and poverty eradication. The conference’s discussions emphasized the significance of protecting workers and their essential contribution to gender equality, social justice, and the reduction of inequalities. Furthermore, such protection leads to sustainable enterprises, productivity gains, and economic development.
Al-Marri commended the International Labor Organization’s guidelines for a just transition toward environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all, considering them as a fundamental reference for policy-making and actionable steps.
The conference’s approval of the organization’s program and budget for the 2024/2025 period was met with praise. Al-Marri lauded the spirit of cooperation and flexibility that facilitated a consensual solution, demonstrating the ILO’s commitment to constructive dialogue.
Al-Marri also commended the World of Work Summit, themed “Social Justice for All,” which took place alongside the conference. The summit saw the participation of 16 heads of state, government officials, ministers, representatives from international organizations, and social partners from various regions. It discussed various issues related to social justice, including the proposal to form a global coalition for social justice by the organization’s Director-General.
During the closing session, representatives acknowledged the challenges posed by recent global crises and emphasized the significance of the equal apprenticeship recommendation in advancing the just transition of economies.
The conference’s final session featured speeches from Gilbert Hongbo, the Director-General of the International Labor Organization, Henrik Montai, Vice-President of the Conference representing the Employers’ Team, Mohamed Zuhour, Vice-President of the Conference representing the Workers’ Team, and Corina Ajdar, Vice-President of the Conference representing the governments. They expressed their gratitude and appreciation to Minister of Labor Ali bin Smaikh Al-Marri for his effective leadership and successful attainment of the conference’s objectives.
Strategic Twinning of Rabat And Madrid: A Defense Against Mediterranean Tension
Rabat – The writer-journalist, Abdelhamid Jmahri believes that the wish today of Morocco and Spain, after the clarification of the foundations of their cooperation, is to establish a geostrategic twinning that goes beyond the limits of close cooperation and privileged partnership, thus blocking the way to maneuvers aimed at exacerbating tensions in the Mediterranean region.
Al Itihad Al Ichtiraki”
In an editorial to appear in the Saturday edition of the Arabic-language daily “Al Itihad Al Ichtiraki”, he notes that this ambition is clearly displayed through the will of HM King Mohammed VI in His call to inaugurate “a new unprecedented stage ” and also that of King Felipe VI of Spain calling for weaving partnership relations for the 21st century.
He maintains that the High Level Meeting (RHN) held last Thursday in Rabat is the bearer of strategic partnerships specific to countries concerned with a perfect understanding of their common interests and also sharing the same conception of the interactions of international action, at the present time. as in the future.
While emphasizing that the two Kingdoms have set a living example on the priority nature of the conciliatory diplomatic approach and its supremacy in the settlement of disputes, he observes that the agreements signed during this High Level Meeting relate to key sectors targeted , in support of a common understanding of priorities.
This article is originally published on msn.com
Spain-Morocco Reconnection: Post-Crisis Efforts
After a deep diplomatic crisis, Spain and Morocco cemented their reconciliation on Thursday in Rabat, despite criticism in Madrid over too many concessions from Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
Mr. Sanchez, accompanied by a dozen ministers, co-chaired a “high-level meeting” (RHN) with his counterpart Aziz Akhannouch, the first since 2015.
“Today we are consolidating the new stage in relations between Morocco and Spain that we have opened,” he said, praising “the enormous unexplored potential of this relationship”.
Before his arrival in Rabat on Wednesday, the Socialist Prime Minister spoke by telephone with King Mohammad VI who invited him to return “very soon” to Morocco for an official visit “in order to reinforce this positive dynamic”, according to the royal cabinet.
Mr. Sanchez ended last March a year of diplomatic estrangement with Morocco by agreeing to support Moroccan positions on Western Sahara.
The crisis erupted in April 2021 after the hospitalization in Spain – under a false identity according to Rabat – of the leader of the Sahrawi separatists of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali, sworn enemy of Morocco.
The Rabat-Madrid honeymoon comes as France – another historical partner of Rabat – is pilloried by Moroccan politicians and media who accuse it of having “orchestrated” a European Parliament resolution worrying about freedom of the press in Morocco and allegations of corruption of MEPs in Brussels.
But this idyll is not to everyone’s taste in Spain. The radical left formation Podemos, member of the government coalition, did not wish to be on the trip to Rabat, citing its opposition to Mr. Sanchez’s “unilateral” turn on Western Sahara. A turnaround applauded in Rabat.
The fact that Mr. Sanchez was not received by Mohammad VI is seen as a snub in Spain by the right-wing opposition and the press. The Popular Party, the main opposition force, deplored Thursday, through the voice of its general coordinator Elias Bendodo, that “Spain has given an image of weakness”.
“The absence of Mohammad VI spoils the summit”, wrote the daily El Païs (center left) while the newspaper El Mundo (conservative) headlined: “Mohammad VI shows his position of strength with regard to Spain by posing a rabbit to Sanchez”.
New Economic Partnership
Pedro Sanchez said he hoped for the development of “new investment projects accompanying the extraordinary process of development and modernization of Morocco”. “Morocco and Spain wish to establish a new economic partnership at the service of development”, underlined for his part Mr. Akhannouch.
Twenty agreements were signed on Thursday to facilitate Spanish investment in Morocco – Spain is the third largest foreign investor there – in the fields of renewable energies, water desalination, rail transport, tourism , education and culture. To this end, a new financial protocol has been approved which will double – to 800 million euros – aid from the Spanish government for investment projects in Morocco.
Also in the pipeline is an agreement to “completely normalize the passage of people and goods” through sea and land borders. The opening of land crossings concern the Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta, in northern Morocco.
Without forgetting the files of illegal immigration and the fight against terrorism. Madrid highlighted the drop of more than 25% in illegal immigration in 2022 thanks to its police cooperation with Rabat, with 31,219 migrants entering Spain illegally in 2022.
This cooperation, welcomed by Rabat, was however tarnished by the death of at least 23 Sudanese migrants who had tried last June to enter the enclave of Melilla via the Moroccan border town of Nador.
The Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, was also to plead with his Moroccan counterpart, Abdelouafi Laftit, to reactivate the channels for the expulsion of irregular migrants and return to levels prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. , according to a source from the Spanish ministry.
Finally, Rabat is considered a key partner in the fight against terrorism. An important subject for Madrid after an attack at the end of January attributed to a young Moroccan in an irregular situation against two churches in Algeciras (South) in which a sexton was killed.
This article is originally published on lorientlejour.com
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