Wits SRC and the City of Johannesburg took a pro-Palestinian stand yesterday, as they hosted a presentation with guest speaker Dr Husam Zomlot.  

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Dr Husam Zomlot at the Wits yesterday addressing “the situation in Palestine.” Photo: Valerie Robinson

Wits University SRC and the City of Johannesburg hosted a pro-Palestinian presentation, at Wits main campus yesterday.

With Palestinian Week in South Africa taking place next week, Dr Husam Zomlot spoke on “The situation in Palestine”

This event was part of a series of events put together to celebrate the relationship between South Africa and Palestine by the City of Johannesburg. This follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the City and Ramallah.

The guest speaker was Dr Husam Zomlot who is the director of the Commission for International Relations in Palestine.

The meeting started off with the chairperson, Prof Noor Nieftagodien, who is the Chairperson of the History Workshop School, shouting to the audience: “Viva Palestine!” To which the crowd responded “Viva”. He said he did this to see if the “right people are present.”

The South African Union of Jewish Students issued a statement on their Facebook account leading up to the presentation.“The mandate of the SRC is to promote the interests of all Wits students, not those which align with their own personal ideological agendas…We have no problem with hosting Palestinian week; but let perspective be added. We request the SRC invite an Israeli speaker; to share their story, and let our students decide for themselves.”

“We are expecting us, as leaders of the SRC, to be charged as well after making this speech”

Wits SRC President Mcebo Dlamini visited Palestine in November and said at the presentation that what is happening in Palestine now “it is an advanced form of colonialism from what we experienced here.” He said that negotiations will never assist anyone because there are those who have power of the media.

“We are expecting us, as leaders of the SRC, to be charged as well after making this speech because racism is still here in this university and it is still run by rationalists and people who do not want to hear the truth,” said Dlamini, when referring to taking a stand against Israel.

Zolmot said that Israel has won every battle against the Palestinians but has lost the war, with Palestinians having won on all moral, political and legal fronts.

“Israel want the occupied land more than what they want peace,” said Zolmot. He said Israel would rather be known as an apartheid state than relinquish control.

The assumption that Israel wants to be democratic, Zolmot said, is one of the main misconceptions that has kept Palestinians under its control. He ended his presentation by saying: “[Palestine is] much nearer to the finish line than many may think.”