Abahlali welcomes government’s filing of a genocide charge against Israel

31 December 2023
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement

Abahlali welcomes government’s filing of a genocide charge against Israel

The first of January marks an important date in the calendar of the long struggle to humanise the world. On 1 January 1804 enslaved Africans won their freedom in Haiti and so New Year’s Day is a day of celebration. This year, though, our hearts will be heavy as the new year comes.

Around the world people of conscience are watching in horror as the attack on the long and brutally oppressed people of Palestine by the Israeli state rages on. In Gaza more than 23 000 people have been killed, more than 55 000 wounded, 85% of the population have been displaced and more than 80% of homes destroyed. More than 8 000 children have been killed. Hospitals and journalists have been deliberately targeted in the attacks. People are now starving, sleeping in the open, unable to get clean water and at great risk of disease. There is a real risk of the war spreading into neighbouring countries. It is clear that the Israeli state, with the backing of the United States, has launched a genocidal attack on the people of Gaza.

It is also important to understand that the Israeli state has a long record of working with repressive regimes around the world and continues to receive strong support from far right organisations and governments. The technologies that it has developed to oppress Palestinians are exported to reactionary governments around the world to oppress struggles for justice. Around the world far right movements and states want to use the model and technologies of the Israeli state to crush progressive movements and struggles.

The Israeli state and its backers in the United States and elsewhere do not recognise Palestinians as human beings. All people of conscience must oppose this and we must build as much national and global unity as possible in defence of the people of Palestine, and in opposition to the danger that the Israeli and US states pose to the people of the world.

Today, for the first time since our movement was formed in 2005, we are issuing a statement in full and strong support of an action taken by the South African government. Abahlali baseMjondolo welcomes the decision by the South African government to launch a case of genocide against Israel at the court of the United Nations, the International Court of Justice.

The South Africa government has joined progressive governments in Bolivia, Colombia and elsewhere in taking a clear stand against the extreme violence and cruelty of the Israeli state. We note and support this.

We also note the gross hypocrisy of the so-called ‘international community’ (which is really just the Western states and their allies) in this matter. We have seen a complete double standard when it comes to the to the attack on the Palestinians. Despite the war crimes being committed in Gaza the ‘international community’ has not done anything to condemn and oppose the US and Israel for carrying out this bloody massacre against innocent civilians.

Whole families have been murdered in Gaza. Families have been separated. Children have been made orphans, wives have been made widows and husbands have been made widowers. The cruelty is beyond words. The attacks on civilians, hospitals and schools are all war crimes.

This is not a war against Hamas. It is a genocidal attack on the people of Palestine by the criminal and deeply racist regime in Israel supported by Joe Biden and the government of the United States. It is clear that the Israeli state wants to destroy the Palestinians as a people. It wants to destroy all possibilities for justice and the independence of the Palestinian people.

We have faced serious oppression as poor people in South Africa, and very serious and at times murderous oppression as organised poor people in South Africa. We know oppression and we are always on the side of all oppressed people everywhere. We are and will continue to be in solidarity with the people of Palestine as they face this attack. Many of us lived under apartheid and we all live in the enduring systems of oppression built by apartheid and colonialism. We feel a deep, deep solidarity with the people of Palestine who are oppressed by Israeli apartheid and express our full support for the struggle for an end to the mass killing in Gaza and for freedom and justice for the people of Palestine.

We also express our support for all the progressive Americans and Israelis who are opposing their murderous and racist governments.

We call for maximum unity in South Africa and around the world in the struggle to stop this attack on Gaza and Palestinians elsewhere, such as the West Bank, and to move towards an immediate end to the oppression of the Palestinian people. We call for mass action and direct action against the Israeli state and its backers. Let us all commit ourselves to this on New Year’s Day.

Thapelo Mohapi 084 576 5117
Mqapheli Bonono 073 067 3274
Snenhlanhla Mncanyana 073 832 3331