Palestinian BNC Mourns Loss of Anti-Apartheid Icon Ahmed Kathrada

March 28, 2017, Occupied Palestine —The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) has heard with great sadness the news of Comrade Ahmed Kathrada’s passing. Mr. Kathrada, born to an Indian Muslim family, was the most prominent Asian South African in the movement to end apartheid, the system of racial discrimination, segregation and white dominance that existed in South Africa until it was defeated in 1994.

Comrade Kathrada was also an active and consistent supporter of the Palestinian struggle for freedom. He visited Palestine, and saw the apartheid system we endure for himself. He said when in Palestine: "In our short stay here we have seen and heard enough to conclude that Apartheid has been reborn here. In its reborn form it is however worse than its predecessor. Even during the worst days of Apartheid we did not have walls to divide and control people, we also did not have separate roads for separate races, and we did not have the system of checkpoints that exist here."

The Foundation which bears his name engages in activities in support of Israeli Apartheid Week, which aims to raise awareness of Israel's apartheid policies towards Palestinians. It also supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights, believing that this is the way to bring an end to Israel's apartheid policies and violations of international law. 

Kathrada’s own long imprisonment — 26 years and 3 months — alongside the anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela and his lifelong struggle against apartheid and injustice are an example to all Palestinians that integrity and perseverance will lead to justice and freedom.

The BDS movement is working to increase international civil society and government support for the Palestinian struggle for justice. We were honored to count Comrade Kathrada as a supporter of our struggle and remain inspired by his life.

We send out our condolences to his family, friends, comrades and all South Africans during these difficult days.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. 

In the News

Al-Haq Report, “Feasting on the Occupation”, Highlights EU Obligation to Ban Settlement Produce

January 17, 2013
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Al-Haq is pleased to announce the publication of the position paper "Feasting on the Occupation: Illegality of Settlement Produce and the Responsibility of EU Member States under International Law." The study examines the extent to which trading in settlement produce has become an essential step in the consolidation of Israel's illegal settlement ent

Al-Haq is pleased to announce the publication of the position paper "Feasting on the Occupation: Illegality of Settlement Produce and the Responsibility of EU Member States under International Law." The study examines the extent to which trading in settlement produce has become an essential step in the consolidation of Israel's illegal settlement enterprise. International stakeholders, particularly the European Union (EU), are directly contributing to the growth and viability of settlements by providing an essential source of revenue that allows them to thrive. This is especially true of settlements in the Jordan Valley, at least 60 per cent of which are dependent on agriculture.

By trading in settlement produce, EU Member States are ignoring the illegality of settlements and settlement-based production operations. In doing so, they are breaching their customary international law obligation not to recognise as legal a situation arising from a serious breach of peremptory norms (fundamental principles of international law)*, as defined in Article 41 of the International Law Commission Draft Articles on State Responsibility. By engaging in the trade of settlement produce, states are also failing to comply with their obligation to actively cooperate in order to put the Israeli settlement enterprise to an end. Consequently, a ban on trade in settlement produce is one of the measures that EU Member States should adopt to comply with their customary international law obligations.

feasting-thumbsCommenting on the report, Shawan Jabarin, General-Director of Al-Haq, said, "As the single largest trading partner of Israel, the EU is in a very strong position to effect positive change on the current situation of Occupation. And yet, while the EU has been quite outspoken in condemning settlements and their expansion, they continue to import produce from these same settlements and in doing so, help to sustain their very existence."

The Government of Israel estimates that the value of goods produced in settlements in the West Bank and exported to Europe amounts to approximately 300 million USD per year. While this may represent a relatively small proportion of Israel's total exports, it still amounts to a considerable quantity in absolute terms. Crucially, such trade, while contributing to the permanence and growth of settlements, has an increasingly negative effect on Palestinian communities and the Palestinian agricultural sector.

"As things stand," continued Mr. Jabarin, "the EU is doing little more than ticking a box by acknowledging that settlements are illegal. Until they support this rhetoric with action and ensure that no assistance or recognition are provided to settlements, even indirectly, any such criticism will continue to be meaningless."

Al-Haq calls upon the EU to comply with its legal obligations and act in accordance with Article 215(5) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) so as to ban produce originating from Israeli settlements in the OPT. In case the EU fails to comply with its obligations, Al-Haq calls upon EU Member States to individually uphold their legal obligations stemming from customary norms of international law to adopt a ban on the import of such produce.

The paper demonstrates that the adoption of restrictive measures against settlement produce would not contravene any provision of EU or national law, or any provision of the World Trade Organisation's "General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)" Regulations.

In addition, the report calls upon relevant United Nations bodies to recall the precedent set by 'conflict diamonds' and to set up an effective mechanism to investigate and report on the relationship between trade in settlement produce and the entrenchment of the settlement enterprise.

 

January 17, 2013
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