The Global South Stands United Against Apartheid

Above Photo: Brahim Guedich, Wikimedia.

Over 700 Global South leaders call for an end to Israeli apartheid and de facto annexation.

The Global South Response against Israel’s apartheid and annexation plan was launched in July 2020, endorsing the Palestinian civil society demands of UN investigation into Israel’s apartheid, ending business ties, supporting the ICC probe and imposing a military embargo on it. Challenging Israel’s de jure annexation plans, this call located itself in the shared history and commitment to anti-colonialism between Palestinians and the Global South.

It was received widely, and endorsed by 10 ex-Presidents including Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki, Dilma Rousseff, Lula da Silva, Evo Morales and José Mujica. Over 700 MPs, diplomats, legal and political figures from Asia, Africa and Latin America endorsed it as well. It has paved the way for an ongoing mobilization in the global south to support the Palestinian struggle for ending Israel’s apartheid, with the urgent steps towards a UN investigation into it.

The Progressive International’s Wire features the statement on the occasion of the start of the 76th UN General Assembly to underline that, since its original publication, Israeli apartheid, de facto annexation and the oppression of the Palestinian people has continued unabated – despite the fact that Trump and Netanyahu are no longer in power.

We, the undersigned from Africa, Asia and Latin America, strongly condemn the Israeli state’s plans for de jure annexation of parts of the West Bank in Occupied Palestine. Our condemnation and this initiative, led by South African civil society, brings us together in our vehement opposition to Israel’s further and criminal denial of Palestinian rights. The Israeli state’s impending action, encouraged by the Trump-Kushner ‘Deal of the Century,’ would violate fundamental principles of international law, including the right to self- determination and the prohibition of the annexation of territory by force.

The increasing severity of Israel’s violations and its impunity obliges us to respond to the call issued by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society organizations. Having lived for decades under Israel’s regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid, Palestinians are urging states to take effective measures to stop Israel’s annexation and the violation of their political and human rights.

We endorse the Palestinian call [issued in light of Israel’s pending de jure annexation] for banning arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel; suspending free trade agreements with Israel; prohibiting trade with illegal Israeli settlements and accountability from individuals and corporate actors complicit in Israel’s occupation and apartheid regime. We commit to working within the framework of our respective national structures to advocate for implementing these measures.

Successive Israeli governments have weaponized the decades-long negotiation process with the Palestinians to further escalate and entrench the theft of Palestinian land, forcibly displace Palestinian communities, and expand its illegal settlements. This relentless process of de facto annexation, enabled by generous support and subsidies from the U.S. and Western allies, has eroded any possibility for a just and lasting peace based on international law and UN resolutions on the question of Palestine.

In the past, the international community came together to reject and help bring the apartheid regime in South Africa to an end, through effective accountability measures. An equally urgent situation today calls us to once again help end decades of Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people, which the 2017 study of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), among others, recognized as apartheid.

We therefore demand that our governments work together to ensure that the rules-based system of the United Nations prevails over the fanatic and pernicious might-makes-right ideology espoused by the Israeli government and Trump’s White House.

We demand that our governments fulfil their obligations under international law by:

  1. Adopting a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly which renews the call for, and provides the means to implement, targeted and lawful sanctions on Israel, including a military embargo, as a countermeasure to stop its de facto and de jure annexation of occupied Palestinian territories and its other egregious violations of international law.
  2. Promoting the activation of the UN Special Committee on Apartheid to address Israel’s regime over the indigenous people of Palestine.
  3. Guaranteeing the effectiveness and regular updating of the UN database of companies involved in business with Israel’s illegal settlements enterprise.
  4. Supporting the International Criminal Court’s probe into Israel’s war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Our long history of struggle for self-determination and national sovereignty, and against colonialism, apartheid and the racist ideologies that were used to justify it, is at the core of our deep solidarity with the Palestinian people in their quest for liberation and self-determination. We cannot allow Israel’s actions, in partnership with the Trump White House, to invalidate or undermine the most basic principles of our global cooperation for world peace and justice, particularly in these critical times.

Find the full list of signatories here.