PRESS STATEMENT: THE NATIONAL COALITION FOR PALESTINE IS OUTRAGED AT ISRAEL’S DENYING A VISA TO MINISTER BLADE NZIMANDE
Cape Town, 25 April 2015:
The National Coalition 4 Palestine #NC4P expresses its outrage that the Israel government has denied a visa to the South African Minister of Higher Education Dr Blade Nzimande, to visit Palestine with an official delegation.
In practical terms, the denial of entry of a South African Ministerial delegation to a Palestinian occupied territory attacks South Africa’s national sovereignty, Israel has once again arrogantly interfered with our government’s right to determine our friends and allies in the international arena.
We ask that the South African government indicate its displeasure at this arrogance by sending the Israeli Ambassador home.
The National Coalition for Palestine (NC4P) argues that the denial of entry to the South African Ministerial delegation is designed to undermine South Africa’s close relationship with the State of Palestine and to restrict the voices of those who are critical of it. However, the solidarity between the Palestinian people and South Africa remains strong.
It is also evident, that the Israeli regime is aware that they would not be able to withstand the scrutiny of the South African delegation into the ongoing assault on the human rights of the Palestinian people.
The denial of the Ministers visa is a flagrant violation of the rights of Palestinians entrenched in Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
International humanitarian law requires Israel, in its capacity as the occupier, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the local residents, and to maintain, to the extent possible, normal living conditions. It must allow the freedom of movement.
These contraventions of international law is part of the oppression faced daily by the Palestinian people. The Israeli restrictions creates constant uncertainty and hampers the Palestinian people’s ability to work or to go to school in the nearby towns, or to participate in economic activity and obtain medical treatment.
These normal day to day activities require complex bureaucratic processes to obtain permission, at the end of which the Civil Administration often denies the request.
This restriction of the Ministers to strengthen educational ties with Palestine undermine the rights set forth in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. In particular it impedes the right to education in terms of (Article 13).
We call on all academic institutions to heed the call for an academic boycott of all Israeli institutions of higher learning and to establish ties to Universities in Palestine.
The act of denying the entry of a Ministerial delegation is regarded by the majority of South Africans as an act of “diplomatic scandal.” The Israeli government has long history of such actions, in recent times they have denied access to activists, and government officials, these include 1) Hon Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education; 2) the Portfolio committee of International Relations and Co-operation’s to visit the Gaza Strip; 3) President of the Muslim Juridical Council, Moulana Ighsaan, 4) activist Marthie Momberg.
We call on all South Africans to support comprehensive sanctions against Israel
For further information, please contact:
THE NATIONAL COALITION FOR PALESTINE (NC4P)
INSTITUTE OF PALESTINE AND SOUTH AFRICA (IPSA)
Dr Anis Daraghma
118 St. George’s Mall,
6th floor, Cape Town
Tel No: 021 4222926
Cell No: 073 217 6029