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Pro-Palestinian groups to march to Parly, US consulate over Gaza deaths

The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) is calling for Israel’s ambassador to South Africa to be expelled.

Palestinians chant slogans during clashes with Israeli security forces near the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel east of Gaza City on 14 May 2018. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) is preparing to march to Parliament on Tuesday morning, calling for Israel’s ambassador to South Africa to be expelled.

The call comes after at least 59 Palestinian protesters were killed in Gaza by the Israeli army.

They were demonstrating against the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists his country’s military was acting in self-defence.

The MJC’s Mishka Daries says marchers will gather from 11am.

“We will be handing over a memorandum to the South African government. We would also want to urge the government to continue to put pressure on Israel to start peace negotiations. The massacre that happened yesterday is completely unacceptable.”

WATCH: Why the Jerusalem US embassy divides opinion

Other pro-Palestinian groups will protest outside the US consulate in Sandton on Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies’ Zev Krengel says government appears to have double standards over recalling the South African ambassador in Israel.

“We’re extremely upset and disappointed. The double standards are just outrageous. South Africa has never behaved like this with any other country. The only country they behaved like this with is the Jewish state.”

NO DEALINGS WITH ‘APARTHEID ISRAEL’

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says it supports all pro-Palestinian demonstrations taking place across the country.

Numsa's Phakamile Hlubi-Majola explains: “We should have no dealings with apartheid Israel and we must double our efforts to pressurise the rest of the world to do the same. Numsa supports the BDS campaigns against apartheid Israel. We call on all our comrades on the continent and from around the world to reject the racist, tyrannical state of Israel.”

Meanwhile, Kwara Kekana of the organisation Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) says religion is used to oppress people.

“What we’re also seeing within the Christian community is a lot of Christians coming out and divesting from Israel and calling Israel an apartheid state. That’s one element we also don’t talk about; how the Israeli occupation of Palestine affects Palestinian Christians, which is also quite important.”

Number of Palestinians killed along the border of the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces since the 'Great March of Return' protest began on 30 March 2018.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)