Week4Palestine: Solidarity through elections

Israel has faced condemnation for its war in Gaza. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

Israel has faced condemnation for its war in Gaza. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 25, 2024


By Reneva Fourie

The Week4Palestine generally serves to highlight the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. This right is being violated daily by the apartheid Israeli regime with the full economic, political and military support from the United States and its allies.

The situation has reached critical levels, thereby exposing a crisis of humanity and the collapse of a rules-based international order. Given that South African’s will be going to the polls on May 29, the vote has become a critical tool to defend the people of Palestine.

Loss of humaneness, empathy, compassion

While many across the world condemn the occupation, and the support that Israel receives from the West, an indictment on humanity remains.

The atrocities committed by Israel against the people of Palestine were well-documented and communicated long before October 7 yet were ignored by the mainstream media and the Western governments. However, the killing of Israeli civilians received extensive coverage and condemnation with their ongoing retaliatory killing of over 300% more Palestinian civilians than Israelis being dismissed as ‘collateral damage’. It is equally disturbing to witness the capture of Israeli citizens receiving more outrage and attention than the ongoing administrative detention of thousands of Palestinian citizens, including hundreds of children.

We all know the devastating figures of people who have been killed, wounded, buried under rubble and displaced by the Zionist onslaught in Gaza, as well as the atrocities in the West Bank and the rest of West Asia. It is unconscionable that these atrocities are occurring as we watch in real-time. Instead of feeling empathy, instead of having compassion, instead of being outraged – there are still those, including some South Africans, who justify and defend this brutal genocide. They celebrate the collective punishment of the Palestinian nation, the blowing up of hospitals, and the burning alive of infants.

This coldness presents a crisis of humanity. It begs the question –Why are the lives of Palestinians valued less? The full consequences of our collective failure to condemn or halt Israeli violence will haunt us for decades, if not centuries, to come.

The collapse of a rules-based international order

Our failure to stop the madness also demonstrates that the rules-based international order has collapsed.

Israel and its Western imperialist backers, repeatedly violate international law and fundamental human rights. The ruling of the International Court of Justice implied a ceasefire. The UN Security Council voted for a ceasefire. However, the apartheid Israeli regime disregards these international agreements and rulings without facing any consequences.

Israel regularly violates Syrian airspace and targets civilian infrastructure. They even bombed Aleppo, Damascus and Lattakia airports to stop the delivery of humanitarian aid following the devastating earthquake last year. However, there has been little international condemnation of these actions.

On the other hand, when Iran responded to Israel’s bombing of its consular office in Syria, which resulted in the deaths of 16 people, there was a strong adverse reaction from the international community. Why the double standards?

If any other country had acted in the same way as Israel, they would be facing a barrage of sanctions. Additionally, if any other leader had been responsible for as many atrocities as Netanyahu, the International Criminal Court (ICC) would have long issued a warrant for their arrest by now. The West preaches human rights, democracy, and adherence to international law; however, their practices consciously undermine these tenets. Acknowledging and addressing these double standards is crucial to promoting justice and equality in our world.

Regime change through the ballot

The upcoming May 29 elections hold significant implications, including beyond our national borders.

The US and its allies are closely watching, hoping that the May 29 electoral outcomes will result in a government that will promote a neoliberal agenda domestically and align with their interests on the global stage. This is why political parties like the DA and IFP were invited to the Brenthurst Foundation’s international conference in Poland last year, where regime change was discussed. The core Moonshot Pact parties are openly advocating for a free market economy, opposing pro-poor programmes, and defending the apartheid-Israeli regime.

The current governing alliance has aligned itself with those who support peaceful conflict resolution, multipolarity, fair implementation of international law, and policies prioritising the needs of the poor. Currently, there is a danger that the electoral outcomes might result in an accelerated shift towards neoliberalism. Moreover, abstaining from voting or voting for the opposition could result in a victory for the West and its proxy, Israel.

It is imperative that people vote wisely and in a manner that will deepen international solidarity with the people of Palestine, promote a just and peaceful world order, and continue to isolate apartheid Israel economically, politically, culturally and otherwise.

*Dr Fourie is a policy analyst specialising in governance, development and security. This is her input to the Africa4Palestine’s launch of Week4Palestine on April 24 on behalf of the SACP, where she serves on the Central Committee and Politburo and is responsible for West Asia in its international relations committee.

**The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of Independent Media or IOL