Students and representatives of Palestinian civil society youth organisations have appealed to the Student Council of Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand ("Wits") to adopt a resolution to boycott Israel during its annual meeting. Wits is one of the largest universities in South Africa. The global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign hopes to force Israel to respect international laws and conventions and basic human rights.
The Palestinian Student Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel took the initiative to contact South Africa. It was followed by the Palestinian NGO Network's Youth Sector as well as student councils in a number of Palestinian universities.
The appeal, a copy of which was made available to the local media, stressed the need to adopt the BDS campaign as a simple, peaceful but comprehensive strategy. The students hope that they can contribute in this way to the struggle for the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people. Such rights can be achieved through ending the Israeli occupation, granting full equality to the Palestinian citizens of Israel and recognition of the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes through the implementation of UN Resolution194. The statement also called for an end to the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip by Israel and its allies.
The signatories to the appeal expressed their hope that South African students will recognise the Palestinian struggle as one against colonialism and apartheid, and offer their full support.