South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress, has called on South Africans to turn out in their thousands during a week of national protest action in solidarity with the Palestinian people from Monday, June 4.
The week of action coincides with anti-Israel activities around the world commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War.
Addressing a media conference earlier this week, ANC national executive committee member Ronnie Kasrils described the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory as "criminal and intolerable".
Activities in South Africa are being coordinated by the End the Occupation Campaign, comprising almost 20 civil society organizations, social movements, solidarity organizations, political parties and faith-based organizations.
In a declaration issued this week and published on the ANC's official website, the campaign said: "We face a new crisis of war and occupation, a crisis in which Palestinians continue to suffer, even more than the suffering already imposed by decades of brutal occupation and apartheid... The conditions of Palestinians living under occupation continue to deteriorate and Palestinian refugees continue to be denied their international rights, including their right of return. Palestinians in Jerusalem and elsewhere face ethnic cleansing."
Trade union leader calls for boycott
Speaking at the briefing, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) President Willie Madisha said protest action against Israel "must be sustained for as long as possible beyond the week we have identified. COSATU will campaign among organizations of the working class around the world to support this call."
He said COSATU supported a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
South African Council of Churches general-secretary Eddie Makue said his organization, together with the World Council of Churches and the Christian Council of Sweden, had made a concerted effort over the past three years to accompany Palestinians and Israelis in non-violent actions and advocacy efforts to end the occupation.