At a press conference held on the 18th of December in South Africa the Palestine Solidarity Committee, COSATU (the Congress of South African Trade Unions representing 1.2 million workers) and the South African Council of Churches called on the South African government to recall the ambassador to Israel and to implement sanctions against Israel.
Speakers at the conference included Willie Madisha (president of COSATU) Eddie Makue (general secretary of the South African Council of Churches), Ali Halimeh (Palestinian Ambassador to South Africa), Virginia Tilley (academic and author), Naâeem Jeenah (chair), Salim Vally (Palestine Solidarity Committee and Patrick Craven (spokesperson for COSATU).
They released the following joint statement:
We, delegates of organisations and movements that represent and have the support of the majority of South Africans, oppose and condemn the Israeli atrocities in Palestine and we make the following call:
* We call on the South African government to immediately recall the South African ambassador from Tel Aviv and to begin the process of ending diplomatic relations with Israel.
* We call on all South Africans to establish a strong, forceful and determined boycott and sanctions campaign against the Israeli apartheid state until the end of the occupation.
* We call on South Africans to identify a national day of action in solidarity with the Palestinian people and to observe it with rolling mass action around the country.
* We call on the South African government to ensure that no South African serves â in any capacity â in the Israeli Occupation Forces and that any South African citizen doing so will be prosecuted under the Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act.
* We demand that Israel immediately withdraws all Israeli Occupation Forces from Gaza and ends the occupation of Palestinian lands.
* We demand that Israel abides by the provisions of international humanitarian law and human rights law, and refrains from imposing collective punishment on Palestinian civilians (as per the UN Human Rights Council declaration issued on 6 July 2006).
* Call on Israel to release all detained Palestinian ministers and legislators and to release all political prisoners â including hundreds of women and children.
* We call on the EU to stop the severe sanctions imposed by Europe on the Palestinian Authority as a penalty for exercising their democratic right and electing a government of their choice. This by itself is a brutal intervention on behalf of the occupation.
* We call on the United Nations to implement the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on Israelâs Apartheid wall.
* We call on the United Nations to ensure that Israel fulfils its obligations in terms of international law.