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Mail and Guardian | August 5, 2006

Thousands march in SA against Israel

Thousands of people marched through the streets of Cape Town to Parliament on Saturday to demand diplomatic and trade sanctions against Israel.

The march, one of several organised around the country this week, was under the auspices of a broad coalition of trade unions, religious bodies and civil society.

It includes, among others, the Palestine Solidarity Committee, the Anti-War Coalition, the Muslim Judicial Council, the Anti-Eviction Campaign and the Congress of South African Trade Unions.

According to the Palestine Solidarity Committee, Israel should be condemned for its actions in Lebanon and Gaza.

The protest action in Cape Town, Pretoria and elsewhere was to urge the South African government to recall the South African ambassador from Tel Aviv and end all diplomatic relations with Israel, to call for trade and other sanctions on Israel and to demand that South Africans serving in the Israeli defence force be prosecuted.

Party support
On Friday, Patricia de Lilles Independent Democrats (ID) came out in support of the march organised by the coalition. In a statement, De Lille said she and her chief whip, Avril Harding, and MP Lance Greyling would be accompanied by party members at the march.

"The ID has always stood on a platform from where human rights abuses must be condemned wherever they occur in the world," said De Lille. "In light of our own history of human rights violations, as South Africans we should be the first to condemn these abuses."

She called on the South African government to impose sanctions on Israel.

De Lille said her party supports the call by the Human Rights Watch for United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to set up an international commission of inquiry to probe Israels war crimes and formulate recommendations with a view to holding accountable those who violated the law.

Her party also supports the call for an immediate cessation of hostilities.

The ID believes the United States -- which it accused of "openly taking sides" -- should be removed from its "so-called role" as mediator in the conflict.

"The ID believes that the United States is a threat to the independence of the judiciary and has a selective foreign policy that is destabilising the whole Middle East." -- I-Net Bridge and Sapa

Posted on 06-08-2006

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