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Issued by SA BDS Coalition Labour Committee

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Over the past few weeks, we have again seen families destroyed, buildings smashed, police rioting in sacred places, lives crushed. We have seen the terrible evidence of Israeli determination to crush resistance among the Palestinian people.

This has not succeeded and the Palestinian spirit of resistance is rising.

Apartheid South Africa and Apartheid Israel

This is how black South Africans were once treated by the Apartheid regime. For the Palestinian people this has been the case for over 70 years with even worse atrocities and oppression against them. They are facing a colonial genocide and deserve our solidarity.

Palestinians are oppressed and imprisoned in Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem and within Israel itself; most of them have no right to free movement either out of the country or even within the country, no right to return to their homes from which they were expelled decades ago, are forced to drive on separate roads, denied access to available medical care and to Covid vaccines. In short, apartheid!

These are a people oppressed by a racist apartheid state which privileges Jewish people and makes Palestinians foreigners in their own land. A large number of Palestinian workers are permanent migrants, not allowed to live where they work, exploited as cheap labour with little protection.

Their struggle is our struggle! Their blood is our blood!

The Palestinian people are suffering the apartheid of our time: separated from their land, locked and imprisoned in Bantustans, used as cheap labour and living without hope of change.

They have, however, the spirit of resistance as we had in the face of military power and live with one instinct: resist!


The over 2 million people of Gaza have been imprisoned by Israel in a small area. Israel has blockaded Gaza and controls what goes in and out. It has starved Gaza from most items for living decently.

Israel does not allow most Palestinians to decent and permanent work.

It has bombed Gaza regularly since 2007, killing thousands of people – mostly civilians, including hundreds of children. It has destroyed electricity, water and sanitation infrastructure and even bombed schools and hospitals. Palestinian lives in Gaza and elsewhere in Palestine/Israel is daily misery with the danger of being killed, beaten or imprisoned. Because of the siege, the unemployment in Gaza is around 85%; the poverty rate is around 55%. The firing of rockets by the Gaza Resistance into Israel is their defence against Israel’s oppression and attacks. Our liberation movement also conducted an armed struggle against the Apartheid state.

The Abuse of the Bible – Jews as the Chosen People and the Land

Palestinians have been living there as indigenous people for as long as the ancient Hebrews. The majority of the Israeli Jews have no relationship with the original Hebrews of over 2000 years ago and are European colonial settlers.

There can never be a religious right to land. This is exactly what South Africa’s Apartheid Afrikaners claimed and are now still owning most of the best land of the country.


Palestinian workers have Risen Up

Palestinian workers are also fighting as we fought with the power of our labour. The general strike of May 18 this year united the Palestinian people which have been forced to live apart in Israel, in Gaza and in the West Bank. This workers’ weapon was effective. The Israel Builders Association said that just 150 out of 65,000 Palestinian construction workers arrived for work on the day.

Palestinian workers and people are crying out for our solidarity! We must support boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against those who cause such oppression. These are the same global capitalist and imperialist forces that cause our exploitation and misery. We know that South African government plans to privatise Portnet will likely affect all our jobs.

In our docks the ships of ZIM Lines, an arm of the Israeli state, regularly offloads and loads cargo. Their profits go to the Israeli state and pay for the ongoing repression of and wars against Palestinians.

We call on you as workers, we call on your unions, and we call on the working class to prepare for action. Refuse to dock, offload, load and service these ZIM ships. Be part of the international Block the Boat campaign supported by dockworkers in Italy and America and other countries. Workers of the world must unite to block ZIM!

Join the pickets and marches against ZIM and don’t allow them to load or offload cargo.

As workers around the world who supported our struggle against apartheid know, solidarity costs, but we will work with you and your unions to try to ensure that workers’ jobs are not affected by this action.

Let’s first work together to strengthen our unions’ policies on Palestine, to make sure these policies are implemented and our unions support BDS. Let’s also get our unions and all workers, irrespective of which union they belong to, to work together on rolling mass solidarity action against ZIM.

Second, let’s act in solidarity when there is a picket or protest. We know:

  • The right to strike or refuse to do particular work is part of our political freedom that we fought for.
  • Health and safety laws state your right to participate in decisions that could affect your health and to refuse work that could affect their health and safety and that of others.

Let’s work together to ensure that our labour movement and solidarity movement stand together and act in solidarity with the Palestinian people!

Boycott ZIM Lines! Phantsi apartheid Israel, phantsi!

Free Free Palestine!