By Al Qalam Reporter
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) together with the human rights organisation, #Africa4Palestine has warned the University of the Free State (UFS) that it will launch a massive protest action outside all entrances unless it immediately terminates its working agreement with Israel’s Haifa University.
The university has been given seven days (from Thursday) to respond.
Meanwhile, in a statement, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) said: “For decades, Israeli universities have played a key role in planning, implementing and justifying Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies, while maintaining a uniquely close relationship with the Israeli military. They are involved in developing weapon systems and military doctrines deployed in Israel’s war crimes in Lebanon and Gaza, justifying the ongoing colonization of Palestinian land, rationalizing gradual ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestinians, providing moral justification for extra-judicial killings, systematically discriminating against “non-Jewish” students, and other implicit and explicit violations of human rights and international law. Any activity that is in collaboration with Israel and its Universities is directly supporting the regime against the people of Palestine”.
COSATU has appealed to the University of Free State to terminate its Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Haifa, and to review all other ties with apartheid Israel.
“We further give the University 7 days, from today (Thursday 15th October), to cancel the MOU. Failure by the university to cancel this (agreement) will leave us with no choice but to picket at the university entrances as a demonstration of our displeasure.”
“COSATU and its affiliates, led by its leaders in the Free State together with Africa4Palestine will embark on this protest action, and organize further campaigns to ensure that the agreement is cancelled. We have previously successfully partnered before on ensuring that the University of Johannesburg ended its relations with Apartheid Israel, and with Tshwane University of Technology also backing the academic boycott of Israel.”
“Branches of the Free State province have correctly indicated that South African universities should take heed from the people of our country and break away from its past of being known as a stooge of reactionary forces. UFS should take heed of the Minister of Higher Education who has previously called on all South African Universities to have no ties with Israel. UFS should heed the South Africa government positions of having downgraded relations with Israel and of having removed our Ambassador from that oppressive regime.
“Our leaders and our members have always been resolute in our international solidarity. Our freedom in South Africa, and the end of apartheid was only possible because the people of the world mobilised in our support during the 1980s. The peace-loving people of the world made our struggle their struggle. Workers of the world united with South African workers because of the realisation that “an injury to one is an injury to all”. That the struggle for worker rights is intertwined with the struggle for a better, more just and peaceful world which includes a world free of apartheid regimes such as Israel”, the statement said.