“There must be an urgent call for concrete action and legislation to comprehensively liberate Palestine…The lack of a determined political will has stolen the lives of many Palestinians,” said South African Minister of Public Enterprises, Patricia De Lille, on Thursday.
De Lille made the comments while speaking to members of the diplomatic corps at the Department of International Relations and Co-operation in Pretoria during a commemoration of the United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
The minister also reiterated the South African government’s commitment to the Palestinian cause. Frustrated by Israel’s lack of action and will to end its occupation of Palestine, Pretoria has begun the process of downgrading its embassy in Tel Aviv.
“The need for international support for Palestine is now even greater,” said outgoing Palestinian ambassador to South Africa, Hashem Dajani, in an interview with the Afro-Palestine Newswire Service.
Emboldened by support from Donald Trump and a largely silent international community, Dajani explained that Israel has continued its construction of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem and tightened its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
South African civil society groups were encouraged by De Lille’s statements. “The South African government has a historic, moral, legal and political obligation to lead a strategy towards full implementation of sanctions through the UN against apartheid Israel,” said Allan Kolski Horwitz of South African Jews for a Free Palestine.
Similar commemorations were also held in Ghana, Senegal, Zambia, Mali, Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe, as African support for Palestine remains strong.
In 1977, the UN General Assembly called for the annual observance of 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.