Under Mandela statue, Palestinians call on Global South to intensify pressure for ceasefire and to sanction Israel

21 November 2023 - PRESS RELEASE

Palestinian students, civil society organizations, and activists gathered today under the iconic Nelson Mandela statue in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah to call on governments in Latin America, Africa, and Asia to step-up pressure for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and to impose a military embargo on apartheid Israel. The demonstration, organized by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, follows the latest warning from 36 UN experts about Israel’s “genocide in the making” in Gaza.

Speaking for the BDS movement, Mahmoud Nawajaa, said: 

Standing next to the Ramallah memorial for the great South African leader and freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela, Palestinians - supported by millions around the world - appeal to our family in the Global South to step up meaningful efforts for an immediate and effective ceasefire to stop Israel’s genocidal war. A comprehensive military-security embargo on Israel and referring its war criminals to the ICC are our top priorities.

“Some states, like South Africa, Chad, Colombia, Chile, Honduras, Jordan and Turkey have led by recalling ambassadors from Tel Aviv or calling for an end to arms trade with apartheid Israel. Others, like Bolivia and Belize have severed diplomatic ties with it. These are the types of effective actions that are needed to impose a high cost for genocide and isolate and sanction apartheid Israel as a world pariah.

The demonstrators held signs in different languages warning of complicity in Israel’s crimes against humanity. They called on Global South governments to stand united, supported by justice movements in the West, in imposing lawful sanctions against Israel, as done to apartheid South Africa, and strengthening the UN’s independence to effectively and fairly promote peace and justice. This, they said, is crucial now given how former/current colonial and settler-colonial Western powers are united in enabling Israel’s genocide of Indigenous Palestinians. 

Nawajaa added:

The governments, as well as most corporations and media outlets, of the US, UK, EU and Canada are complicit in Israel’s genocide. Most of humanity, however, as expressed in overwhelming UN votes and mass protests worldwide, is demanding an immediate ceasefire and an end to genocide. Everyone should be worried about the new ‘might makes right’ world order that the West is testing in Gaza. If silence and inaction are complicity, rhetorical solidarity is entirely inadequate. We need lawful sanctions imposed on Israel now.


Notes to editors: 

  • The United Nations General Assembly voted on October 27th for an immediate and sustained humanitarian truce in Gaza and for the protection of civilians and compliance with obligations under international humanitarian and human rights laws. One hundred twenty one  states, mostly from the Global South supported the resolution while 45 states abstained, and 14 states, including US and Israel, voted against. On the same day of the UN vote, Israel announced its expansion of its ground operation in Gaza while it continued to indiscriminately bomb civilians and civilian infrastructure including hospitals, schools where people were taking shelter, universities, refugee camps, bakeries, water and sewage infrastructure, telecommunications networks, etc. 

  • As of the publication of this press release Israel has killed more than 13,300 Palestinians, including  more than 5,600 children, while 1.7 million Palestinians have been forcibly displaced. Israel’s bombing, cutting off supplies, and direct military occupation have deemed 26 hospitals out of service, including Al-Shifa hospital, which Israeli forces continue to occupy and to gradually destroy. On November 20th, Israel bombed the Indonesian hospital killing at least 12 people. 

  • On  November 17th five member states of the Rome Statute, including South African, Bangladesh, Comoros, Djibouti, and Bolivia referred the situation of the State of Palestine to the International Criminal Court. This follows similar announcements from Algeria and Colombia earlier in November. 

  • On October 31st, senior UN human rights official in New York Craif Mokhiber left his post in protest against what he called the failure of the UN system to take firm action against the” text book case of genocide in Gaza.” Mokhiber called on the UN to take firm action against the US, UK, and European states which are arming Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza and providing it with economic and intelligence support as well as political and diplomatic cover to continue its atrocities against Palestinians in Gaza. 

  • For more information on Military embargo, please see here. For more information on Third State responsibility under International Law, please see here


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