Freedom News

Abahlali baseMjondolo in solidarity with Palestine

Freedom continues its coverage of Abahlali baseMjondolo, a South African movement of shack dwellers who organise land occupations and communes. Abahlali Youth League issued this statement:

The mass murder of civilians in Gaza by the apartheid state of Israel, supported by the imperialism of the United States of America, continues before the open eyes of the world. 

Ahmed Abassi was the head of Gift of the Givers in Gaza. He was killed yesterday while returning from the morning prayer with his brother. His brother was also killed in what Gift of the Givers has said was a targeted attack. Another Gift of the Givers worker, Mohammed Al Ahel, was killed on 6 November. 

Gift of the Givers is a highly respected organisation in South Africa and many other countries. When impoverished people in South Africa suffer from shack fires or floods, we know that Gift of the Givers will come with solidarity while the state is absent. They have also supported people in Haiti and Turkey after the earthquakes in these countries.

Abassi was a humanitarian worker and father of three children who has been described as a warm and kind man who courageously served orphans and widows at the risk of his own life. The Israeli state has killed more than 11,000 civilians since the attack on Gaza began. The people of Palestine have been called animals by Israeli politicians and soldiers, an open indication that they are not recognised as human beings. 

Black people were not seen as human beings in this country under apartheid, and we, as impoverished black people, continue to have our humanity denied almost thirty years after apartheid. This is a very painful thing, and because we understand the pain of living under apartheid and as poor people in this country, we understand something of what the Palestinians are going through. If you know the pain of living under oppression, you will be in solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine. 

We fully support the call to have the Israeli embassy removed from South Africa with immediate effect. We also support the calls by the South African government to call upon the International Criminal Court to investigate Benjamin Netanyahu for war crimes. We are supporting the call for the boycott of Israeli products. We are in solidarity with all our Jewish comrades in South Africa and around the world who are standing up against the oppression of Palestine and this genocidal attack on Gaza. 

We note that the ongoing massacre of civilians in Gaza by the Israeli state is also primarily a massacre of the poor.

When humanity is under attack, all of us who believe in humanity are called to rise up and fight against the evil that oppresses us. 

The deliberate killing of Ahmed Abassi shows that the state of Israel is not targeting the terrorists as it claims. This is an absolute seizure of a part of Palestine. It is the absolute destruction of Gaza. It is mass murder. Israel does not respect and recognise Palestinians as people, let alone as people with a right to an independent state or to have full rights in a single state.

We send our deepest condolences to the family of Ahmed Abassi and his brother, as well as Mohammed Al Ahel, to Gift of the Givers and the people of Palestine. We are in solidarity with you and will do what we can to support you. 

Every Palestinian comrade will always be welcomed in our occupations as an honoured guest. 

Land & Dignity!

Image: Guy Smallman / Demo outside UK Parliament demanding a ceasefire, 15 Nov

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