DURBAN-- People across the world are protesting against what they call the illegal occupation of Palestinian land by Israel and hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters in Durban joined them in the protests oer the weekend.

The march here Saturday was also sparked by Israel's recent retaliation on Palestinian protesters over the new United States Embassy being opened Jerusalem. About 60 unarmed Palestinians were gunned down after Israeli armed forces fired live ammunition.

At least 1,200 Palestinians were wounded in what was seen as the bloodiest day since the 2014 war. Israel, which faced international condemnation, saidit was obliged to defend its borders.

The marchers here demanded that the South African government cut ties with Israel and expel the Israeli ambassador from the country.

The Isreali-Palestinian tension can be felt thousands of miles away as these pro-Palestinian supporters in Durban demanded an end to Israel's land grab of Palestinian territory. Among those present was the grandson of former president Nelson Mandela.

Mandla Mandela said his grandfather believed that South Africa would never be free unless Palestine is free. The organizers of the march, The People Against Oppression, called on South Africans to support the Palestinians in their struggle. Spokesperson Abie Dawjee said the march was aimed at giving a voice to innocent victims in Palestine.

The significance of this march really is show support with the long suffering people of Palestine who have been under occupation for 70 years since the state of Israel was created. We are motivated about what has happened over the last nine weeks where almost 120 people were killed in a peaceful protest near Gaza fence. The largest prison in the world where 2 million Palestinians lived. 120 people were killed so far 13 thousand people have been injured.

Dawjee called on South Africans to stand together in the fight against what he described as "apartheid Israel". He said South Africans managed to overcome apartheid because they were united and called on Palestinians to apply the same vigour in their struggle.

All South Africans must remember that it took the collective effort of people around the world who believed in human right to bring apartheid South Africa to its knees; and so we call on SA to join the struggle to free Palestinians from Apartheid Israel in the words of Nelson Mandela. We cannot be truly free until the Palestinians people are free.

Meanwhile, various religious leaders were also part of the march, including the Dean of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Bishop Rubin Phillip, who is also the great-grandchild of indentured labourers, and the first South African of colour to hold the position of Bishop of Natal. Another religious leader, Reverend Ntuthuko Nkosi, called on South African government to downgrade the Israeli embassy.

The importance of this march is that we continue to put pressure on Israeli regime and what they have been doing in the pasty three weeks in killing in the cold blood � the Palestinians who are marching wanting to push for a downgrade of our embassy in Tel Aviv and downgrade the Israeli embassy in South Africa.

Marchers believe the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem meant the symbolic recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capitalS a move which was condemned internationally as provocative and a threat to peace in the region.

Protesters have called on the South African government to cut ties with Israel and expel the country's ambassador to South Africa.


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