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South African dockers refuse to unload Israeli ship in solidarity with the Palestinian people

SOUTH AFRICAN dockworkers refused to offload cargo from an Israeli ship in Durban today in solidarity with the Palestinian people as Tel Aviv faces a wave of international pressure to end its bloody war.

The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) took action against what it described as “Transnet-facilitated Israeli imports,” blocking entry to the port in the country’s third most populous city.

Trade unionists are set to be joined by supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement at the Durban Esplanade today to celebrate the decision to boycott the ship’s cargo and protest at the docking of the Israeli vessel.

It follows similar action by Italian dockers in Livorno earlier this month when members of the the Unione Basic Union of Trade Unions refused to load the Asiatic Island ship with a deadly cargo of arms bound for the port of Ashdod in Israel. 

“The port of Livorno will not be an accomplice in the massacre of the Palestinian people,” a union spokesman said.

Political boycotts and strikes were central to the international campaign against the apartheid system with trade unions across the world refusing to unload shipments or handle South African goods.

Financial institutions that held major investments in South Africa, including Barclays Bank, were also targeted with boycotts in solidarity with black workers who had appealed for international support.

Earlier this month Human Rights Watch released a detailed report which accused the Israeli government of operating an apartheid system in its treatment Palestinians.

It found that discrimination was built into its legal system, with Israel’s continued occupation and illegal settlement programmes a breach of international law.

Israeli jets continued to pummel the Gaza Strip yesterday as residents told the Morning Star that the situation was growing more desperate as each day passes.

“They want to destroy everything. Bombs are falling all around us. This is a massacre. They want to kill us all,” one citizen of Gaza said. 

At least 230 Palestinians have been killed, including 65 children in the 11 days of Israel’s war on the Palestinian people. 

While Tel Aviv claims that it is acting in self defence, its missiles have struck hospitals and other medical facilities, with a number of health workers killed including Dr Ayman Abu al-Ouf who was leading the response to coronavirus in Gaza.

The US has continued to block efforts at agreeing a ceasefire statement at the UN security council while President Joe Biden has recently approved the sale of arms worth $735 million (£518m) to Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ignored calls for a truce, saying that the bombardment would continue until Tel Aviv’s “aim is met.”

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