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Parliamentarians fast in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners

The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Siphosezwe Masango, has applauded and participated in the initiative undertaken by South Africans and various organised formations to fast in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners.

"This action places our country at the centre of the global fight against injustices and human rights abuses. South Africa is an influential player in global politics and cannot afford to look away when transgressions are continually committed against civilians in Palestine," Mr Masango said.

"The Middle East imbroglio requires that we all be part of finding a durable solution and that we do not become partisan. The mass hunger strike by Palestinian political prisoners and human-rights advocates remind us of our own struggle against the crime of apartheid," he said.

A number of prominent South Africans and parliamentarians embarked on a fast over two days, starting on Sunday, 14 May 2017, in solidarity with Palestinians. Last month, a group of over 1 500 Palestine prisoners began a hunger strike, demanding an end to "administrative detention" (detention without trial) and the ban of visitation to Israeli jails.

Those who participated in the fast included the Deputy President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC's Secretary General Mr Gwede Mantashe, and struggle stalwarts Ms Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Mr Laloo Chiba to mention just a few. Mr Masango and the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training, Ms Connie September, were among parliamentarians participating.

Mr Masango expressed a view that municipal councils and provincial legislatures join the parliamentarians in future initiatives and pass motions in support of the #PalestinianPoliticalPrisoners.

"All we are advocating for as South Africa is a two-state solution for peaceful co-existence between the two sovereign states of Palestine and Israel," he said.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.
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