South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), announced it’s active participation in the country’s 14th annual Israeli Apartheid Week Wednesday, which takes place between March 14 - 18.
The ANC published a press release on Twitter reiterating the party’s “ongoing solidarity work and commitment to the heroic people of Palestine.”
The press release also explained the ANC is “particularly concerned by the increased targeting of Palestinian children... The case of the 17-year-old imprisoned Ahed Tamimi is an example of the extreme and unacceptable abuse of child rights, human rights and international lay by the Israeli government.”
Ahed Tamimi was imprisoned las December after a video of her slapping two Israeli occupation soldiers outside her house in the West Bank town of Nabi Saleh went viral. She faces up to 10 years in prison for charges including assault and incitement.
Nabi Saleh is known for the organization of weekly protests against the expansion of a nearby jewish-only illegal settlement; her family and herself are very active in these protests.
According to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, over 300 children are currently in Israeli prisons, and an overwhelming majority are detained and questioned without adult supervision or the presence of a lawyer.
Israeli Apartheid Week is a global campaign that seeks to raise awareness on Israel’s policies of racial segregation and discrimination against the Indigenous Palestinian population and to garner support for the non-violent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement with the goal of pressuring the Israeli state to end its illegal occupation of Palestinian land, including East Jerusalem.
In South Africa, Israeli Apartheid Week is endorsed by more than 110 organizations, including trade unions and political parties.
This year the anti-apartheid campaign will also highlight the plight of the African community in Israel. Israel has announced the deportation of over 30,000 asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan who entered Israel illegally. Those who refuse to leave “voluntarily,” accepting US$3,500 and a plane ticket, will face indefinite prison.
The measure has been criticized by human rights group in Israel and abroad.