Organisations come together to support Palestine

Seated from left to right: Dr Allan Boesak, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman and Reverand Rodney Whiteman all wait their turn to speak at the global day of action for Palestine.

Numerous organisations gathered on the Sea Point promenade to voice their support for the Palestinian people on Saturday.

The Gift of the Givers, South African Jews for a Free Palestine (SAJFP), Healthcare Workers for Palestine, and a group of skaters – on roller-skates and skateboards – all showed their support as around 3000 people attended the global day of action for Palestine.

The event was arranged by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Imtiaz Sooliman, the founder of Gift of the Givers, gave details about their experiences in Palestine and stated that people must be consistently taught about the atrocities taking place in Gaza.

“Education is crucial, you cannot achieve anything without knowledge, without information, you cannot mobilise people like this without education. The war did not start on October 7, people do not know that it started 75 years with the occupation. We responded in 2009, 2014 and in 2023 we are doing the same thing over and over again, it’s time to educate the world. We meet people from all over the world who have no clue that Israel is at fault and think that Palestinians are the terrorists, but the world opinion is slowly changing,” said Dr Sooliman.

According to anti-Apartheid activist Dr Allan Boesak, the world stood in solidarity with South Africa in the struggle against apartheid in the 1980s, and the same must be done for Palestine.

“The removal of flags from people’s homes and walls is unconstitutional as if people have no freedom of expression. I will encourage people to put the flag (of Palestine) on their walls. Our voices must be heard as the city government is not speaking up, so the people must speak up and show their support for Palestine,” said Dr Boesak.

He also expressed pride in the South African government’s decision to take Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in The Hague, accusing them of genocide.

“I feel pity for Israel because how can you defend the indefensible, how can you defend the fact that children are being killed, how can you do what Nazi Germany has done to you and still try to play the victim, if they win this case then surely justice has no place in the highest courts of the world, but if we win this case it will be a significant moment because then the onus will be not only be on the Israeli government to carry out the instructions of the court, but on the United States, the United Kingdom and the European countries who have been supporting Israel all this time,” he said.

SAJFP’s Anthony Fish Hodson believes that joining together is vital to raise awareness of what is occurring in Palestine.

“This is much needed, we need to be mobilising people all over the world and we need to make our voices heard. I must say that the support for Palestine has been increasing over the least few months and there is so much more coverage on social media and individuals are speaking up about openly about their views on Palestine,” he said.

Adila Dawood, a paediatrician and member of Healthcare Workers for Palestine, said since the organisation’s inception last year, they have received increased assistance.

“We started this movement just after we heard about the atrocities happening in Gaza. Doctors are doing their jobs and yet they are being attacked and killed and there are other organisations around the world that have come together to raise awareness and support for the healthcare workers,” said Dr Dawood.

Tahir Dawood and his wife Sameera Patel, both medical physicians, founded Roses for Palestine just a month ago to raise awareness about the children killed in Gaza.

“We’ve been raising awareness since our student days but when the bombing in Gaza started we decided to do this Roses for Palestine where we attach the names of children as well as a message to a rose. People buy these roses and the funds go to Gift of the Givers, so far we have donated R150 000 to them,” said Dr Dawood.

The war began when Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on October 7, which resulted in about 1 140 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

Hamas, considered a “terrorist” group by the US and the EU, also seized about 250 hostages, 132 of whom Israel says remain in Gaza, including at least 25 believed to have been killed.

Israel launched a relentless military campaign that has killed at least 23 968 people in the Palestinian territory, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.

– Additional reporting from the Cape Times

This is the crowd the speakers faced at the Sea Point promenade.