Africa 4 Palestine, formerly known as BDS South Africa, protested in Pretoria today outside the embassy of the United Arab Emirates.
The State of Palestine Embassy in South Africa released a statement, part of which says that “The Israeli-UAE-Bahrain deal will not bring peace, nor contribute towards a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…” it further states that “the Palestinian people will never accept Israel’s plan for eternal colonization, oppression as well as injustice… Real peace will only come when the Palestinian people have justice and freedom…”
Africa 4 Palestine Intends to show South African Solidarity Against Normalization
A representative of Africa 4 Palestine stated to Salaamedia that the protest is “to show UAE and Bahrain, that normalization with an apartheid state is unacceptable” he further stated “here in South Africa, Palestine solidarity is very active” and added “look, we believe that the Palestinian cause is what is used to guide a further fragmented Arab region. So we will not be surprised when backward, unprogressive dictatorships get an alliance with Israel… We will not be surprised when that happens. There’s been a particular historic trend of them cooperating in secret, so when they openly come we will not be surprised. But the characterization of these states, is that they are oppressive, they are backward, and they play lip-service to the Palestinian cause.”
Muhammed Desai, Africa 4 Palestine director, said about the intention of the protest that “Dictators are known to be arrogant. Dictators are known to be disrespectful, and that is the kind of attitude that we are seeing here today. Instead of the UAE ambassador coming out to engage, to receive a memorandum, they’ve hired a a big, bulky, heavily armed, private security company, to try and come and dictate what we, as South Africans, can and cannot do. So I think that we, as protesters here today from Africa 4 Palestine, the SACP, and various other organizational representatives, are here to send a very clear message: that South Africa’s government’s position of not welcoming the UAE selling out of relations with Israel, is a position that is backed up by the South African people as well…”
Other Arab States Possibly Normalizing relations with Israel
Desai went on to say, in relation to other Arab states possibly following suit, that “I think in many ways it’s expected. I think that in many ways we all knew that the authoritarian, Arab regimes were always siding with the Israeli state, now the truth is coming out of the woodwork. But at the same time I think that something that we as activists always maintain, is that the people of the United Arab Emirates, the people of Bahrain, the people of Jordan stand squarely with the Palestinian cause. And so, maybe in this process we’ll even see a toppling of certain dictators within that region.”
UAE Embassy Officials Refused to Engage Africa 4 Palestine during the Protest
In response to the UAE officials refusing to engage with Africa 4 Palestine, Desai stated “I think that the UAE will probably and should be, quite correctly, isolated, just as how the Israeli regime is being isolated, because essentially the UAE is allowing Israel to continue with this oppression of the Palestinian people without any sort of consequences. So we, as an organization that targets those that enable Israeli oppression, will obviously also focus on those countries like the UAE, that is enabling it.”
Gaza Militants fired Rockets onto Israeli Civilians, Israeli Military responded
Gaza militants fired rockets onto the Israeli civilian population during the signing of the Abraham Accords ceremony, hours before the Africa 4 Palestine protest.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of the militants “They want to turn back the peace. In that, they will not succeed,” according to Reuters reports. He continued “We will strike at all those who raise a hand to harm us, and we will reach out to all those who extend the hand of peace to us.”
The Israeli military fired on Gaza targets in response to the rocket fire, stating that the targets included a weapons and explosives factory and a compound used by Hamas for training and rocket experiments.
Hamas has been designated by the United States as a Foreign Terrorist Organization since 1997.