South Africa — Members of the Climate Justice Coalition have joined millions of people all over the world in the call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the occupation in Palestine. We bear witness to the atrocities committed by the Israeli state, operating with support of the United States, as it enacts gross human rights violations upon the people of Palestine, with complete disregard for human life, international law and global harmony.
While Israel’s actions are as a retaliation to the attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas, this does not justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian civilian population in response.
We have watched in horror as the Israeli state cut off water, electricity and the internet. It has placed the people of Gaza under siege, refusing food, fuel and medical supplies to enter Gazan borders. Israel has continuously and relentlessly bombed schools and hospitals, using illegal white phosphorus, leaving no place of refuge for Gazans. Israel has now issued a military order forcing northern and central Gaza residents to evacuate their homes and move south, as these areas are now classified as a “war zone”.
Over 12 000 Palestinians have been killed by Israel in Gaza, including at least 192 medical staff and 44 journalists. Hundreds more have been killed and imprisoned in the West Bank, while the world’s focus remains on Gaza. A full report of the war crimes is documented in the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs relief report here.
As the Climate Justice Coalition, we stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine and occupied people all over the world. Palestinian liberation, like all anti-colonial struggles, is a climate justice issue. The colonial and neocolonial dispossession of peoples to facilitate resource and land grabs, is a key driver of climate injustice. It contributes to the climate crisis by facilitating the extraction of polluting resources like oil and gas, and degrading lands which might otherwise serve as climate sinks. It also makes people, especially indigenous, poor, and Black communities, increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis by displacing them from their homes and starving them of access to vital resources like water, food and land. We will not be silent in the face of injustice.
As members of the Climate Justice Coalition, we condemn this US-state sanctioned genocide, through provision of weapons, political support for Israel during this time, and internal censure of the only Palestinian-American Democratic representative Rashida Tlaib for calling for a ceasefire. We call out the billions being spent on this genocide, that could be directed to other social, economic and environmental justice concerns and recognise that this is the industry of war at work, that continues profiting from mass atrocities in the region.
We recognise how this tragedy could be halted by stronger actions from the US, but that their interest in Israel as a geopolitical entry point in the fossil-fuel rich middle-eastern region outweighs their concern for Palestinian lives. We call out the double standards in politicians of the global north, who readily stood with Ukraine but failed to do so with Palestine. We also acknowledge the threat this poses to geopolitical unity for coordinated action on issues like human rights and climate change, as well as the far-reaching and long term social, political and environmental impacts this level of destruction will have.
There can be no peace in the region without justice. To quote Nelson Mandela: “The United Nations took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system…but we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
We call on international actors like the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice to take swift and direct action to ensure that justice does indeed prevail, and echo the call for the South African government to expel the Israeli ambassador and sever all ties with the state of Israel while it commits these atrocities and until Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians is ended.
Signed on behalf of the following undersigned Climate Justice Coalition individual members:
- Thembi Luckett
- Tara Nair van Ryneveld
- Maia Nangle
- Motlatsi Makhasane
- Ferron Pedro
- Kholwane Simelane
- Alia Kajee
- Sunny Morgan
- Mametlwe Sebei
- Lungisa Ngapi
- Robert Krause
- Alex Lenferna
- Shaazia Ebrahim
- Mbali Baduza
- Motheo Brodie
- Cleopatra Nqobile Shezi
- Gabriel Klaasen
- Sarah Robyn Farrell
- Trevor Shaku
And the following Climate Justice Coalition member organisations:
- The expanded secretariat of the Climate Justice Coalition
- Centre for Applied Legal Studies
- Lawyers for Human Rights
- United Front
- XR Gauteng
- Sekhukhune Combined Mining Affected Communities
- Debt for Climate South Africa
- African Climate Alliance
- South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU)
For Media Enquiries, contact:
Shaazia Ebrahim, Climate Justice Coalition
+27 83 320 2255
NOTES TO EDITORS
About the Climate Justice Coalition: The Climate Justice Coalition is a coalition of South African trade unions, civil society, grassroots and community-based organisations working together on advancing a transformative climate justice agenda, which tackles the inequality, poverty and unemployment that pervades South Africa.