I made notes in November 2002 for use in future speeches on Palestine and Israel, nearly 9 years later they are equally valid:

We in SA know about racial oppression

We fought it and defeated it because it was unjust We fought it to be free to rebuild our country

The world condemned apartheid and international anti-apartheid campaigning was an important part of our struggle.

The violence of the apartheid regime was as nothing in comparison with the utter brutality of Israel’s occupation of Palestine I mean the whole of Palestine from which Palestinian Arabs have been driven out The greatest violence is seen in the occupied West Bank and Gaza

We did not see tanks with guns blazing protecting armoured bulldozers Nor did we see armoured helicopter gunships “taking out” homes, children, whole families with great precision! We did not see the destruction by bombing of the whole centres of towns

We see the same brutalisation of whole generations of Palestinian Arabs

The suffering of people prevented from going to a doctor Of ambulances being stopped Of pregnant women forced to give birth at checkpoints

We see the same brutalisation of generations of young Israeli soldiers called upon to destroy a people and a society

Whatever the protestations by the Israeli state its policy has always been to drive all Palestinian and Arab people out of that state. The boundaries of the state have steadily expanded until but 22 percent of the land is nominally left to the Palestinians

We know that there are about one million Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel

They are denied many rights of citizens They may not acquire land or property Where will their children live when they are adults and raise their own families? South Africa did the same under the Group Areas Act

This is land theft on a grand scale

It is accompanied by falsehoods: “Palestinians abandoned their land and effectively gave it to Israel”

that simply ignores the massacres and deliberate destruction of villages

notoriously General Dayan said that there is not an Israeli village or settlement that is not built on an Arab village.

We add that their names have been deliberately obliterated from maps as they and their people were obliterated.

This theft of land continues Palestinians are remarkably generous: they say they will accept the 22 per cent of their own land in the West Bank and Gaza as the basis of their independent state based on UN Resolutions which are the sole legal justification of the state of Israel

Yet Israelis settle on the hilltops and then defend the newly stolen land with their enormous military firepower Any Palestinians who wants their land back, and should have the support of the Israeli courts and the ICJ, is of course a “terrorist”

The utter humiliation of the Palestinian people through the domination of their land by illegal settlers who steal and occupy the high ground is real and inflammatory

The theft of land has even more serious economic consequences In such a water stressed area, land without water is useless Israelis have stolen over 90 percent of the Jordan waters for their economy destroying the Palestinian Arab economy in the process

over 70,000 olive trees, many of them hundreds of years old, have been destroyed by the Israelis. They say for security reasons: to build apartheid like razorwire fences and military roads But in reality to destroy the Arab economy

Trees use water As an adviser in the Ministry for Water Affairs and Forestry in the new South Africa we are aware of these equations At the same time Israel with the help of the Jewish National Fund, supported by Zionists all over the world, has created new plantations and forests, and new lakes, for leisure activities and water sports

It is easy to forget these facilities have been created on stolen land Have been created with stolen water Have been created at the expense of the lives of countless Palestinian Arab people

Israelis claim that they are the elect of God and find a biblical justification for their racism, something like the Afrikaners of apartheid South Africa

The British did not need such belief. They claimed a pseudo-scientific Darwinian “survival of the fittest” justification for their colonisation. Economic power was the means and the rationale for power

We demand action

You helped us through anti-apartheid movements to isolate South Africa

Support the call for economic sanctions on all goods produced in Israel We call for an embargo on sporting and cultural contacts

From: The Mission by Denis Goldberg