Civil society activists from 21 countries across Africa gathered in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, from March 10 to 12, to mobilize support for Palestine, the Pan-African Palestine Solidarity (PAPSN) Network said in a press release, a copy of which was sent to The Palestine Chronicle.
During the meeting, African activists have pledged to intensify the fight against Israel’s apartheid practices against the Palestinian people, isolate Israel in the same way that apartheid South Africa was sanctioned, and work to have Israel’s accreditation to the African Union revoked.
The three-day event was hosted by the Plateforme de Solidarieté Sénégal-Palestine (Senegalese Palestine Solidarity Platform) and the Senegalese branch of Amnesty International under the theme “From Africa to Palestine: United against Apartheid.”
“This was the first time that Palestine solidarity activists held a gathering of this nature in Africa. The wide representation of groups from across the continent is unprecedented in terms of Palestine solidarity,” PAPSN spokesperson and coordinator of the South African Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Coalition, Roshan Dadoo, said.
At the event, delegates discussed how to counteract Israeli strategies, which “undermined Africa’s long-standing support of the Palestinian liberation struggle by supplying weapons, military hardware and surveillance technologies to repressive African governments”.
Delegates also resolved to strengthen pan-African solidarity for Palestine “by mobilizing all sectors of African society to build an effective BDS campaign against Israel that is modeled after the social justice movement that isolated and helped defeat apartheid in South Africa. Africa must become an apartheid-free zone.”
“The determination of PAPSN to strengthen pan-African solidarity with Palestine is the ray of hope we Palestinians need in our struggle against Israel’s ever-intensifying apartheid regime,” said Jamal Juma, a founding member of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), adding that “the unbreakable bond of peoples that share a common struggle against colonialism and foreign occupation was palpable during the entire encounter” .
For his part, Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela and member of the South African parliament, said that
“This bold initiative bodes well and sends a strong message to the people of occupied Palestine that you are not alone and that the people of Africa stand with you in your struggle just as you stood by us during our struggles for liberation across the continent.”
Representing the Pan-African Women’s Organization, Emma Nyerere underlined how “the influence of the ideas that were planted in Julius Nyerere’s era that favor solidarity with the struggle for self-determination of the Palestinian people is strong.”
“The solid support that Palestine enjoys among an influential bloc at the African Union, in addition to the popular support the Palestinian cause continues to receive throughout Africa, indicates that, despite the mistakes of the past, Palestine remains a central issue on the continent,” Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle Ramzy Baroud wrote in a recent article.
Palestinians “ought to mobilize the numerous civil society organizations throughout the continent in order to send a strong, collective message to Israel that it is not welcome in Africa,” Baroud added.
(The Palestine Chronicle)