Palestinian Resistance no different from Mandela's anti-Verwoerd Resistance

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Iqbal Jassat

Jumada' al-Akhirah 08, 1444 2023-01-01

Daily News Analysis

by Iqbal Jassat

As Israel under Benjamin Netanyahu is now firmly entrenched as a Jewish supremacist regime, unashamedly racist and in pursuit of total annihilation of Palestine, one is reminded of the era of Hendrik Verwoerd in South Africa.

In his book Apartheid Guns And Money, Hennie van Vuuren recounts that during 1961 Nelson Mandela wrote a final letter of ultimatum to National Party Prime Minister Verwoerd on behalf of the African National Congress (ANC).

It requested the government to abandon plans of establishing a Republic that carried only the mandate of white South Africans, and instead called for a sovereign national convention to draw up a non-racial and democratic constitution.

Failing this, Mandela and the ANC, in lucid tones, promised protest and resistance.

Six decades later, Israel on the eve of 2023, has not only disregarded lessons from the rise and fall of Apartheid in South Africa, but doggedly and faithfully follows the same Verwoerdian script that Mandela opposed and finally defeated.

In fact, in addition to opposing it, Mandela called for sanctions which became a pillar of resistance politics, as described by Van Vuuren.

“We call on democratic people the world over to refrain from any cooperation or dealings with the South African government, to impose economic and other sanctions against this country and to isolate in every possible way the minority Government whose continued disregard of all human rights and freedoms constitutes a threat to world peace,” wrote Mandela.

It doesn’t require much imagination to substitute Verwoerd with Netanyahu, nor can it be disputed as The Economist commented that “Israel’s new government is the most right-wing ever.”

It is a minority government of ultra-right Jewish supremacists in occupation of Palestine, that has vowed to continue plundering more land to expand illegal settlements, without regard for International Law which prohibits it.

Since he is on trial for corruption charges, it is no surprise that Netanyahu is determined to push through a bill to strip the judiciary’s power.

A simple majority in the Knesset will be able to overturn Supreme Court decisions, thus enabling him to escape imprisonment by having his prosecution revoked.

Likewise, it will suit two of his fellow thugs who now hold key ministries—Aryeh Deri and Itamar Ben-Gvir—both have criminal records.

Deri was convicted for bribery in 2002 and late last year pleaded guilty to tax fraud.

Ben-Gvir, an avowed racist who proudly wears his racism in the most arrogant and abrasive manner, is an unrepentant convicted racist.

Paradoxically, Israeli apartheid, akin to the Verwoerdian model, boasts of being the “only democracy” in the Middle East, yet makes a mockery of its very concept.

Not only are millions of Palestinians—both Muslim and Christian—in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) excluded from

the sham “democracy”, millions within 1948 Palestine are deemed lesser “citizens” and denied equal status that is reserved only for Jews.

However, the most outrageous outcome of Netanyahu’s hard-line coalition of hard-core racists is the declaration that Jewish people have a “natural right” to all of Palestine, from the river to the sea, described in it as the “Land of Israel”.

The declaration by Netanyahu which flows out of the internal agreement of coalition parties, undertakes an imminent annexation of the West Bank and expansion of illegal settlements in the OPT.

Though the Biden regime recycles hopes of a “two-state” solution, which remains a futile expectation given the sustained enormity of land grabs, home demolitions and evictions, South Africa, will have to urgently review and reassess its position on the same score.

Not only is the idea of “two-states living side by side” obsolete and reduced to rubble by successive Israeli regimes, but to hold onto it despite the reality of Occupation and Apartheid, is both foolish and unrealistic.

In a sense, it can be argued that Netanyahu's fascist policies to extinguish Palestinian hopes and liquidate their desire for freedom and justice, is an indirect challenge to South Africa.

Will the ANC-led government readjust its foreign policy built on a “two-state” paradigm or will it remain wedded to it on the basis of Mahmoud Abbas and his discredited Palestinian Authority requiring it to do so?

Equally the shift to armed struggle within the West Bank by resistance groups banded together to defend their lives and properties, also challenges South Africa to be alive to the reality of Israeli terrorism being far removed from “peaceful incursions”.

Palestinians are justifiably engaged in “protest and resistance”, terms described by Mandela in his ultimatum to Verwoerd.

And in South Africa, neither the ANC government nor civil societies, may stand aside as mere spectators.

Iqbal Jassat is Exec Member at Media Review Network, Johannesburg, South Africa

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