29 November 2023

Al Qalam Reporter

The Palestinian ambassador to South Africa, Hanan Jarrar, has postponed her public lecture event scheduled for January 25, saying she was busy attending to matters relating to the upcoming heads of State Summit at the African Union.

In a letter addressed to SAMNET and other affiliates, she wrote: “It is with deep regret that I inform you of the postponement of scheduled solidarity event on the 25th of January 2022.

“The upcoming Heads of State Summit at the African Union, where Israel’s accreditation to the continental union will be discussed, demands my immediate attention.”

“I look forward to rescheduling the Embassy’s engagement with your group as soon as possible, as (we) seek to raise awareness of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people”.

When she was asked by SAMNET- the primary organizers – to speak at the event, there were some dissenting voices on social media.

There has been much critique of the PA and Fatah (whom she represents) for what some say is its compromised role in taking forward the Palestinian struggle.

In one chat on a Palestine solidarity group, a contributor wrote: “I wish I could attend this meeting and ask the ambassador why Mahmoud Abbas is conniving with Israel and allowing the Palestinians to be massacred in the West Bank.

“His security forces (are) arresting Hamas operatives and other democratic people in the West Bank – he reminds me of a fascist that is working with Israel against his own people, surely the ambassador that represents his government will deny all this.”

Jarrar is also Palestinian ambassador to Namibia and Lesotho and serves as Special Envoy to Malawi.

Jarar’s life is interesting. She was just 14 years old in 1987 when the first Intafada started – and which lasted until 1993.

Despite this turmoil surrounding her young life, her parents encouraged her to focus on obtaining an education. Her parents felt that the best way to resist the Occupation of their land by the Zionist government was to arm their daughter with a solid education.

Jarrar started out as a translator for Arab and international relations. The interactions and engagements led her to enroll for a Master’s degree in International relations and diplomacy. On completion she joined the Ministry of Women Affairs as director of International Relations and was involved in several key projects.

Her dispatch to South Africa is her first posting as Ambassador. As a mum, wife and Head of the Palestinian Mission in Pretoria, she is well aware of the historic links between the liberation movements of Palestine and South Africa – and the bond shared by icons Yasser Arafat and Nelson Mandela.


In an interview with News 24, she said: “We Palestinians are inspired by Africa’s liberation struggle and (by) its former leaders. Israel’s violent occupation has not defeated us even though Israeli settlements on Palestinian land continue to expand, political resistance is brutally crushed, and attacks on Palestinian communities continue unchecked.

“We are yet to attain our inalienable rights to self-determination and still to achieve our liberation. Our de-colonisation journey has not yet begun. Despite decades of disappointment and setbacks on the global political stage, we remain committed to a multilateral order that ensures respect for international law.

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“Fifty-three years after the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza, and 13 years since Israel inhumanely blockaded the Gaza Strip, we Palestinians are still here, determined as ever to achieve our freedom, just as African nations did. Africa’s solidarity – along with the rest of the Global South – is a vital pillar in our struggle against Israeli colonisation and Occupation. African nations must not veer from their legacies of fighting for justice, and continue supporting the occupied and colonised Palestinian people.

She said South Africa’s solidarity with the people of Palestine has been steadfast and unwavering – it holds key positions on the global platform, namely non-permanent member of the UNSC and will assume its position as Chair of the African Union.

“These positions can prove influential in bringing about a peaceful solution to what has become untenable; a situation in which ordinary citizens bear the brunt of a conflict that is becoming irrelevant as younger generations grow weary at the futility of the situation.

Talking about her role as ambassador, she said trade, tourism, and investment are the ways to engage, including people to people interactions, adding that advances in travel and transportation logistics are allowing people to crisscross the world.

“After all Jerusalem and Bethlehem, the biblical holy lands are part of Palestine and its people.”

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