SA group aims to bring peace to the Middle East

Don Makatile

Don Makatile

A group of eminent South Africans will undertake a week-long trip to the Middle East with a view to fostering a non-violent end to the post-1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Members of the peace mission, planned for July 5 to July 11, will be hosted by the Joint Struggle Coalition, an assemblage of local civic organisations from both sides dedicated to the non-violent struggle against the occupation.

Some of the 25 big-name South Africans on the trip are Aids activist Zackie Achmat, Jonathan Berger, of the Aids Law Project, Advocate Geoff Budlender, judges Dennis Davis and Edwin Cameron, former ANC MPs Andrew Feinstein and Pregs Govender, political activist Barbara Hogan, veteran journalist Zubeida Jaffer, writer Jonny Steinberg, head of the HRC Jody Kollapen, maverick politician Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, newspaper editor Mondli Makhanya and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, head of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa, among others.

The group is of the view that human rights are interconnected and indivisible and that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

The trip is informed by the wish "to share with them our similar and different experiences".

A statement from the group says: "We want to express solidarity with those who are living in oppressive, restrictive and dangerous circumstances."