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Ramallah: Experts from South Africa and Spain discuss the Israeli "racism" in Palestine

Legal experts from South Africa, Spain and Palestine have reviewed samples of "racial discrimination" which is being practiced by the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people and compared it to the racial discrimination once prevalent in South Africa. These investigations came in the context of a workshop, convened by "Panorama" centre, a Palestinian centre for the dissemination of democracy and society development, in Ramallah under the title "racial discrimination in Palestine."

The workshop's speakers included Nancy El Sadiq, General Director of "Panorama"; Dr. Mohamed Shallaldah, Dean of Faculty of Law at the University of Jerusalem – Abu Dis; Jody Kollapen, Chairman of the Board of Human Rights Commission in South Africa; and Dr. David Buendía, Professor of International Law at the University of Barcelona and Director of the Human Rights Institute in Barcelona..

El Sadiq said: "As individuals and institutions, we witness this dsicrimination towards the land, people and property."

"Discussing the South African's experience gives a start to investigating new tools that should be used by Palestinian civil society organizations in an attempt to reach out to the mass of audience and influence the Palestinian political decision making process which should serve the fundamental issue of ending the occupation."

Dr. Mohamed Shalala presented the international legal justifications which confirm that the wall construction is a form of racial discrimination, through either the social, cultural, and economic effects or putting in advance limits to prevent the establishment of Palestinian state.

Shalaldeh focused on the experience of the University of Jerusalem and explained the suffering of students and the university administration's daily complicated details which prevent the full access to education. He also reviewed the available international legal mechanisms and explained that the resolutions of international legitimacy are binding and Palestinians should begin working immediately to benefit from these decisions.

At the beginning of his speech, Dr. David Buendía criticized the Spanish government for not playing a positive role in the Arab- Israeli conflict. Spain voted against the Goldstone report at the United Nations, which accused the Israeli side of committing war crimes in its military operation in Gaza. At the same time he appreciated the role of the Spanish non-governmental organizations in supporting the Palestinian cause.

Dr. Buendía talked about the racial discrimination policies applied by the Israeli occupation authorities in the Palestinian territories, both the apartheid wall or Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, saying it is "a clear violation of human rights" referring also to the right to freedom of worship; as Israel prevents the worshipers from accessing the places of worship through the imposition of restrictions on them.

"The violations of the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories and Israel's discrimination are not practiced anywhere in the world.

"The siege imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip is incompatible with international norms and charters of human rights with regard to a human right to food, since Israel is an Occupying Power and still controls the Gaza Strip crossings," added the Professor of International Law at the University of Barcelona.

Dr. Buendía stressed that the Israeli military checkpoints everywhere in the Palestinian territories "is the most common violation committed by Israel, through the harassment of the Palestinian people on the roads."

With regard to the apartheid wall, Dr. Iondia said that the responsibility of removing it lies on both the Israeli side and the international community which stand silent before the racist policies pursued by Israel.

"The problem is not in the international law, but in the policies applied."

Jody Kollapen also spoke about the experience of South Africa against apartheid, saying that their struggle was not against whites but against the policy of racial discrimination and its systematic practice.

Kollapen insisted that the four most important factors which will help to achieve common goals and avoid differences rest on deepening communication and social cohesion, approaching the grassroots and streets and speaking their language, providing a leadership that is able to influence the masses and the being able to use the settlement logic when thinking.


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