News Bulletin II
Israel's anti-Muslim and anti-Christian actions

Year after year, Israel’s Apartheid regime imposes numerous restrictions on the Palestinians, practising their religion in peace and freedom to observe their religious rights, especially at the Al-Aqsa mosque.
We have seen once again this year and again in the month of Ramadan, the racist Zionist regime continues to attack the Palestinians worshipping in Al Aqsa. From last week they have made attempts to bar the entry of Palestinians into the holy compound. Now this right wing racist government is forcefully removing worshippers from the Jerusalem compound and encouraging Zionist settlers to enact violence against the Palestinians and desecrate their place of worship.  This is being done under the guise of “security measures” and with the impunity that the apartheid state enjoys internationally. No where else in the world does anyone need a permit just to enter a Mosque. This is especially in humane considering that Al Aqsa is revered as the third holiest site in Islam. Similar restrictions have been imposed on Christian Palestinians observing their religious holidays and in their places of worship. All of these restrictions are discriminatory in nature and, in tandem with Israel’s occupation, aim to break the spirit of the Palestinians.

As South Africans, our religious freedoms are constitutionally protected, with all religious groups enabled to practice their faith and engage in activities relating to this faith without hindrance. Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Palestinians do not have the right to practice their religions without hindrance from the Zionist occupiers and Israel’s Apartheid regime. In 2022, Palestinian Christians were stopped from entering the Church of Holy Sepulchre with Zionist settlers and Israeli occupation forces attacking Palestinian Christians and priests. Israel imposed restrictions on the entrance of Palestinians into the Church, forcing them to get permits. This is an on-going restriction imposed on Christian and Muslim Palestinians by Israel’s Apartheid state, enforced by its brutal occupation force and enabled by its settlers and the silence of the internal community. 
This Ramadan, Muslims in Palestine face on-going violence and restrictions. Palestinian worshippers have been forcibly removed from the Mosque with some being arrested. Israel has imposed further restrictions on the access of Al Aqsa in order to control the number of Palestinians entering the Mosque. Palestinian worshippers were also attacked by settlers and Israeli occupation forces. 
We call on the international community to safeguard the Palestinians’ human right to religious freedom and speak out against Israel’s continued aggression against Palestinians and their places or worship. We also call on all religious bodies and organisations to stand up for the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Palestinians who are continuously barred from practising their religion freely without hindrance or restrictions. All freedom loving people must stand for the freedom and liberation of Palestine, irrespective of race, religion, and creed. As The Palestine Solidarity Alliance, we call on you to raise your voice for Palestine and to stand up for the human rights of the Palestinians.
We encourage all mosques, churches, sports clubs and community organisations to host an urgent local prayer meeting, picket or protest for Palestine. As the PSA please reach out to us should you require assistance in this regard. Let us also use social media to expose and condemn Israel as well as hold their supporters culpable for the denial of religious freedoms, islamophobia and anti-christian bias.
#HandsOffAqsa #Freepalestine #EndISraeliApartheid
We reiterate our call to the ANC government to hold Israel accountable and take meaningful action to prevent the further ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Jerusalem and from Occupied Palestine in general. The ANC government should enable the breaking of diplomatic, trade and all other ties with apartheid Israel and prosecute those South Africans that join the Israeli Defence Force. 

It is up to us to support all efforts to find a meaningful, and viable solution that secures human rights for all and is based on our common struggle values of Freedom, Justice, Equality and Dignity. As Madiba said, “we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

The Land of Palestine

In the twentieth century, the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 carved up the Middle East with certain portions of the region falling to Britain, including Palestine, which then came to exist as a British Mandate. Under British control, Jewish settlements were erected in Jerusalem, a city that had previously only been home to Palestinians. Upon entering Jerusalem, Jewish settlers performed religious rituals, which ethnic Palestinians saw as a desecration of their holy site, and thus, in 1929, the first popular protest against the presence of settlers in Jerusalem began. Many more demonstrations against incoming settlers occurred while Palestine was under British rule, but British forces suppressed a majority of these soon after they began. 

In 1947, when the Balfour Declaration came to fruition and Britain handed Palestine over to Jewish settlers, Jerusalem was put under international control, a process that was overseen by the United Nations. This, however, did not hinder Jewish settlers, who continued to make their way to Jerusalem, displacing Palestinians as they did so. By 1949, 750 000 Palestinians had been expelled from their homeland in what became known as al-Nakba (the catastrophe) and Jewish settlers seized control over a majority of Historic Palestine, creating the State of Israel as per Zionist aspirations.

By 1967, the number of Jewish settlers in Palestine grew exponentially, and thus began the Six-Day War, which was fought between Israel and neighbouring Arab states who were sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. The war lasted only a few days, and by the end of it, Israel used brute force and sophisticated weaponry to defeat the Arab states and illegally capture swathes of land in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights in Syria. Until today, Israel illegitimately occupies these territories, in blatant contravention of international law. 

On the 30th of March, we commemorate the Palestinian Land Day in order to remember the 6 unarmed Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces during protests against the Israeli government's decision to expropriate large tracts of Palestinian land in 1976. We also remember those Palestinians who have lost their land to Israel's settler-colonial project or are in the process of losing their land. This Land Day we strengthen our solidarity with Palestinian farmers who use the land to keep alive their history and heritage and actively fight against Israel's occupation. We reiterate our support for the Palestinians right of return to their land and look forward to one day uniting with our comrades in Palestine when it is free of occupation and apartheid.

Nablus and the Working Class Resistance
Only Palestinians know the cost and bear the complete brunt of Israel's inhumane occupation and Apartheid regime. It comes at the cost of thousands of innocent and unarmed Palestinian lives at the hands of one of the most sophisticated and well-armed militaries in the world. It comes at the cost of demolishing Palestinian homes and taking over Palestinian farms, land, and homes. It comes at the cost of culturally appropriating Palestinian culture, food, and traditions in a coordinated attempt to erase the people of Palestine and their identity. Despite all of these forces working against Palestinians, their spirit of resistance does not waver and lives on. 

Israeli aggression has increased exponentially in the past year, with Israel attacking Palestinian cities and targeting areas with impunity. The latest victims in this bout of aggression are Nablus, Gaza, and Jenin, the citizens of which have suffered greatly due to these violent assaults. Gaza has been subjected to multiple bombings this year, the affects of which further exacerbate the inhumane conditions of the world's largest open air prison. Jenin has suffered similar assaults, with Israeli soldiers raiding the Jenin refugee camp and killing in cold blood 11 Palestinian civilians.

Israel's current right-wing government, under the tutelage of Netanyahu, has been an influencing factor in the current rise in violence, raids, and attacks against the Palestinians. Zionist extremisst now have a safe space to enact their hate for Palestinians without consequence or retribution. This has emboldened Israeli occupation forces and settlers and provided them with security to increase aggression and violence, resulting in more frequent raids on Palestinian cities. Nablus has been especially targeted by Israeli occupation forces who have indiscriminately unleashed violence against the city and its Palestinian occupants. A 14 year-old child on his way to school and a 65 year-old man have lost their lives, two amongst the many martyrs this year. This year Israel has conducted the biggest invasion of the city of Nablus, the second oldest city in the world, by invading the old market and attacking youth activists. Israel has violated numerous human rights during this raid, attacking and raiding a medical centre, kindergartens, and primary schools which led to further injuries and casualties. 

The city of Nablus has been turned into a prison, with checkpoints being closed. Many find their movement further restricted, with thousands stranded and not being allowed to enter or leave Nablus. This has added to what Israel does to the Palestinians; killings and assassinations, lack of freedom of movement; lack of freedom of speech. Despite these harsh living conditions, the people of Nablus continue to resist. Nablus is a city made up of factories and other industries, making the majority of Palestinians living there workers in these factories and industries, who battle to keep their families safe and keep a roof over their heads at the same time. This resistance is a source of inspiration to all working class individuals globally.  We stand in solidarity with the working class of Palestine and call on the working class internationally to stand up for Palestinians and their rights. The people of Nablus have been under siege for months now. How long will we remain quiet in the face of such oppression and aggression?
No space for Israel in Africa
Israel has been trying to encroach on Africa, with efforts to sway African governments into normalising relations with them. For the past few years, Israel has been trying to gain observer status in the African Union, almost succeeding. This month, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr Moussa Faki, has announced the suspension of Israel's observer status in our union; an important first step in preventing the normalisation of a settler-colonial and apartheid state. 

Israel's illegal and inhumane occupation of Palestine has no space in Africa, a continent ravaged historically by colonial and apartheid forces. With any kind of normalisation of relations with Israel comes chaos, conflict, and corruption. African leaders should be hesitant to normalise relations with a state with notoriously nefarious agendas, fuelling the pillaging of the natural resources of Africa for its own gain and profit. Under the guise of agricultural help, Israel has encroached into several African countries, using its irrigation and water systems to breach into South Africa as well. Millions of Palestinians living under Israel's illegal blockade of Gaza do not have access to clean and safe drinking water, a human right which is denied to them by Israel. How can a state which continues to cold heartedly deny Palestinians safe drinking water promise African countries aid under the guise of water and agricultural resources?

Any kind of aid from Israel will come at the peril of loss; loss of Africa's autonomy and loss of solidarity for the people of Palestine. South Africa witnessed first-hand the tactics employed by Israeli companies when branching out into local businesses with Clover. We witnessed the retrenchment of thousands of workers, with many more now working for lower wages and with numerous austerity measures. Several milk producing factories were closed down leading to the loss of dairy farming infrastructure in several South African regions. We should remain weary of normalising relations with Israel and conducting business with a state that has no principles and does not uphold human rights values. Israel and its apartheid regime have no place in Africa. As Africans, we should remain resolute against Israel's normalisation attempts and ensure we remain united against Israel.
Defending Aqsa - a current political perspective

Since time immemorial, Jerusalem has held significant political and religious status, as has the Al-Aqsa Compound, a site that has been a Muslim religious site of prayer for hundreds of years, recently experiencing a forceful contestation for ‘divine’ ownership by the Apartheid State of Israel and fundamentalist Jews alike. This claim emerged particularly in the aftermath of the Six-Day War of 1967. 

The al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam, and many sites of Islamic significance, including the Dome of the Rock, can be found in Jerusalem. It is believed to be the site from which the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) ascended to the heavens and met with God. In the contemporary era, however, the al-Aqsa Mosque and its surrounding compound have both taken on a dimension, which has been far more political than religious.

Since 1967, East Jerusalem, and the al-Aqsa Compound in particular, have been the sites of Palestinian resistance in the face of Israeli apartheid. A remarkable instance of this was that of the al-Aqsa Intifada, also known as the Second Intifada, which took place in 2005 when Ariel Sharon, the Prime Minister of Israel, entered the compound - something that had never before been done by an Israeli Politician. His visit to the holy site sparked massive protests and served as a catalyst for acts of revolutionary Palestinian nationalism, which lasted for years, despite the Israel Defence Forces attempting to brutally stop them. 

Over the years, Palestinians have resolutely defended al-Aqsa against settlers and soldiers alike, using every tactic of resistance available to them, from popular to organised, and violent to nonviolent. On multiple occasions, Israelis have attempted to enter the compound and the Mosque for an array of reasons and have often been unsuccessful. Their failure can be attributed to the many Palestinians who have fiercely guarded al-Aqsa against invaders. 

One of the most prolific attacks against al-Aqsa took place in 1969 when an Israeli-Australian settler attempted to set fire to the Mosque. The fire set alight the facades of al-Aqsa, portions of its ceilings and floors, as well as ornaments in the Mosque and copies of the holy Quran. This was one of the most audacious and cruel attacks by an Israeli settler and 1500 square metres of al-Aqsa Mosque were burnt beyond repair. This instance of arson gave rise to resistance from thousands of Palestinians who protested the brazen act and called for the protection of the al-Aqsa compound from right-wing settlers. 

In 2022, tensions soared in Palestine after Israel killed dozens of Palestinians in January and February. This led to sporadic bouts of Palestinian resistance sprouting up not only in Jerusalem, but also across the country. In Ramadan, Palestinians protested around the al-Aqsa compound, waving flags and chanting for freedom. These actions were seen as aggressive by Israeli forces, who responded with stun grenades and tear gas prior to evacuating demonstrators and shutting the doors of the Mosque. Some Palestinian protestors found themselves barricaded in al-Aqsa Mosque overnight and violently evacuated them the next morning. Some 50 Palestinians were injured in the attack and close to 500 Palestinians, including minors, were arrested for fighting to defend al-Aqsa.

The al-Aqsa Compound has been a site of turmoil, particularly over the course of the twentieth century. Illegally occupied by Israel, East Jerusalem has become a city of strife where Israeli soldiers roam freely and Palestinians are routinely attacked and barred from entering the Al-Aqsa compound.

With the backing of the United States and the European Union as well as others, Israel has extended its apartheid policies and brutal occupation of Palestine. This is evident in Jerusalem, where Israel politicians and settlers act daily and with impunity to frustrate and to disrupt the lives of Palestinians who have been living for centuries in this holy city. There is no respect shown for any other faith by the Jewish settlers and Israeli military forces, as their objective is to unlawfully claim al-Aqsa to build a Jewish temple and to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem of all who are not Jewish. Israeli soldiers and right wing Jewish fundamentalist politicians have been found desecrating the site and breaking age-old agreements by allowing Jewish settlers to enter freely and pray in the compound, despite the illegitimacy of these actions.

As the PSA, we strongly commit to continue to strive for the liberation of Al-Aqsa, Jerusalem and all of Palestine. We call on all who love Freedom and Human Rights and respect the dignity of our holy sites to join us in our solidarity work, to defend Aqsa and all Muslim and Christian religious sites across the indigenous lands of Palestine.

No Normal Sports in an Abnormal Society!
As the Palestine Solidarity Alliance, an affiliate of the South African BDS Coalition, we welcome the SA Rugby decision to withdraw their invitation to Tel Aviv Heat to participate in the Mzansi Challenge. We recognise that this principled decision follows from the campaigning of human rights activists globally and the efforts of the South African BDS Coalition. 

In their official statement, SA Rugby states that they withdrew their invitation to the Israeli rugby team in order to “avoid divisions''. We welcome that this is a firm action to preserve the unity of the freedom loving, anti-racist people of our country. We further recognise that this is a firm stand against apartheid Israel, declaring that there can “be no normal sport with an abnormal society”. The slogan of SACOS then has the same relevance today as we enhance the struggle against racial discrimination, ethnic cleansing and apartheid, crimes that Israel perpetuates daily and with impunity.

The sports boycott against apartheid Israel has its roots in the then boycott of apartheid South Africa’s “whites only” sports teams. We recall the gallant struggle of the international anti-apartheid movement that called out South Africa for its racist policies, inequality and social division. We agree, Israel’s Apartheid, genocide of the Palestinian people, human rights violations, and war crimes should be separated. We maintain our position, no normal sports in an abnormal society and no normal with an abnormal society.
At the height of Apartheid in South Africa, activists called for the separation of Apartheid South Africa sports teams from various sporting tournaments. No normal sports in an abnormal society was the banner under which activists across the globe rallied in order to strengthen the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement against Apartheid South Africa. This movement was successful in isolating South African teams and helped strengthen the movement for more widespread boycotts and disinvestment from Apartheid South Africa. 
We remain inspired by the spirit of the people of New Zealand who came out in their numbers to oppose the South Africa Rugby Union tour of New Zealand in 1981, filling the streets surrounding the rugby stadiums and remaining firm on their stance against Apartheid and racism. Many believe sports to be apolitical but we argue the converse. Sports has always been political and has political significance. Taking a knee, wearing armbands, hoisting certain flags after victory are all political statements. As a society, we cannot separate the political from the personal. Living in a post-Apartheid society with the effects of Apartheid still plaguing us, it is evident to us that the personal is political. As the PSA, we remain resolute in our efforts to continue calling for BDS against Apartheid Israel, including sports boycotts. We reaffirm, there can be no normal sports in an abnormal society.
Palestinian Voices

Tamim, who wishes to remain as anonymous due to possible harassment from the Zionist lobby, is a Palestinian university student living in Qatar. He forms part of the Palestinian diaspora like millions of other Palestinians who have been displaced from their homeland, forced to live away from their land while Zionist settlers takeover their homes and farms. Tamim's grandfather was exiled during the 1948 Nakba from his village of Safsaf in Safad, Palestine. The Safsaf Massacre is a great example of the horrors committed by the illegal zionist occupation who targeted innocent Palestinians; murdering thousands and displacing many. Numerous Palestinian villages were ethnically cleansed with their occupants killed in a gruesome manner; with an unequal force of heavily armoured settler occupiers, armoured cars, and a tank against innocent children, women, and men. Even though there were reports of this crime against humanity, the apartheid government keeps the reports classified but everyone knows. According to Tamim, this is why solidarity movements are crucial, it is a reminder that people care and are willing to fight for the right thing. 

Tamim's grandfather barely escaped with his life during the 1948 Nakba. "My grandfather was shot during the Safsaf Massacre and the Zionist armed occupiers thought he wasn’t alive, that’s how he survived and then able to find his way to Lebanon, later Saudi Arabia and lastly Qatar where most of his children settled." The rest of his village was shot to death with few survivers. Tamim believes that it is important to know of the injustice happening in Palestine. We get lost in our daily lives but learning about the apartheid, genocide, ethnic cleansing, forced displacement and showing solidarity shows that the cause is alive. Forgetting about it makes you compliant and it is exactly what the people committing these injustices want you to do, forget. 

For Tamim, it is a beautiful thing that solidarity movements like the PSA exist. It is essential that people from all backgrounds are part of the solidarity movement. For Tamim, meeting people from the solidarity movement in South Africa has been a lovely experience. "They come from different age, ethnic, and religious groups. It proves that you don’t only have to be from a certain nationality to care about doing the right thing. I won’t forget it and will share my great experience meeting them back in Doha, I will always wish them the best."

Help us break the illegal siege of Gaza

For decades now, Israel has imposed an illegal blockade around Gaza, leading to one of the worst humanitarian crises the world has ever seen. The Palestinians living in Gaza do not have access to clean and safe drinking water, electricity, and the internet. Lack of freedom of movement, and speech, and threats of violence form a part of their daily life. Due to continuing COVID restrictions the Freedom Flotilla Coalition is still unable to sail to challenge the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza. Therefore, we are changing tactics in 2023 to meet the goals of:

- Educating the public about the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza and attacks on Palestinians;
- Working to break the blockade through changing public opinion, protesting, and lobbying; and
- Letting the people of Gaza and the rest of Palestine know that we have not forgotten them and are working to ensure they achieve their human rights.

To meet those goals we are hosting and promoting solidarity events in countries across the world. Awareness of Israeli government’s oppression of Palestinians is growing and we want to show the Palestinian people as well as Palestinian solidarity activists across the world that there is growing support and they are far from alone.

Join the virtual boats to Gaza without even getting seasick! On each leg of the trip delegates will be able to meet other amazing human rights supporters who have also volunteered to be on that specific part of the journey. Together they will learn about the impact of the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza on civilians and especially children and find out what is involved in preparing for a real flotilla. We will host video conferences on each leg, including an educational session followed by an action or actions for supporters to get involved in and which we aim to make easy to complete. Finally, participants will be given tools and resources for actions that they can take back to their communities to further increase the joint effort for human rights and justice. We anticipate there will be 10 legs on the 2023 Flotilla and will announce these specific legs soon.

Raise your voice and stand with the people of Gaza; become a passenger on the Nelson Mandela Virtual Boat to Gaza today.

Donate to the PSA
As an organisation, we remain pivotal to the struggle for Justice and for a Free Palestine. We remain steadfast in our call to our government and others to impose sanctions and ensure divestment from Israel to end the impunity that they enjoy despite the daily killings, detention without trial, land theft, house demolitions and ongoing siege.

To ensure that our work is more effective and impactful we have recognised that together with our traditional volunteer ethos we also have to employ full time staff that can assist with lobbying, advocacy, education and campaigning.

The Struggle against Racism and the Struggle for Human Rights needs your support. We thus humbly ask that you consider a financial contribution to our organisation and the work that we do. This will make a huge impact in our efforts and we know that the Palestinian people, especially those that we work with across the globe, have expressed appreciation for our efforts.

Make a Donation Today:

Account Name: Palestinian Solidarity Alliance
Bank: ABSA
Branch: Lenasia
Account No: 4070101666

Photo Gallery
PSA and Gaza-based Palestinian activist, academic, and musician Haidar Eid
PSA in Malaysia at the International Conference on Palestine Kuala Lampur
PSA at the Eid Festival signing up passengers on the Nelson Mandela Virtual Boat to Gaza
Israeli Apartheid Week 2023 movie screening of Palestinian movie Farha and dialogue with Saleh Hijazi
PSA at the Climate Justice Charter Movement Deepening the Just Transition Conference