South African dock workers have announced their determination not to offload a ship from Israel that is scheduled to dock in Durban this coming Sunday.
The decision followed one made by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) to strengthen the campaign in South Africa for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel, as means of protests against its recent Gaza offensive.
The pledge by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) members in Durban reflects the commitment by South African workers to refuse to support oppression and exploitation across the globe.
Last year, Durban dock workers had refused to offload a shipment of arms that had arrived from China and was destined for Zimbabwe to prop up the Mugabe regime and to intensify the repression against the Zimbabwean people. Now, said SATAWU’s Secretary-General Randall Howard, the union’s members are committing themselves to not handling Israeli goods.
The ties between Israel and South Africa date back to the latter's apartheid years; but South Africa also has close ties with the Palestinians, since its ruling party has long-standing relations with the PLO.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor offered the following: "If these people think that by refusing to unload a ship they are advancing peace in any way they should go back to school, since they clearly have no understanding of the situation in the Middle East."