Bangani Ngeleza

Persecution of Palestinian citizens recalls S. Africa apartheid repression

Two weeks after Israel imposed a travel ban on him, Ameer Makhoul, a well-respected Palestinian leader holding Israeli citizenship, was kidnapped from his home on 6 May in the middle of the night. The persecution of Makhoul brings back memories of the South Africa apartheid regime; during the South Africa anti-apartheid movement, similar tactics were used against those advocating for freedom and equal rights, who were accused of terrorism and having links with the Soviet Union. Adri Nieuwhof and Bangani Ngeleza comment for The Electronic Intifada. 

In search of a true humanity

As Lebanon and Gaza burn and the laws of war are violated with impunity, the terrible erosion of international law represents a critical challenge for the international community. Reflecting on the South African apartheid regime’s efforts to gain supremacy in South Africa and the Southern African region, Jeff Handmaker and Bangani Ngeleza argue it is imperative that we continually raise our voices against Israel’s brazen impunity until a real and lasting ceasefire is in place, war criminals are brought to justice and the Israeli regime is held accountable for decades of repression and regional destabilisation. In doing so, we will surely find a true humanity. 

African National Congress: An Inspiration for Palestinians

On March 28, Rifat Odeh Kassis wrote here that a different political body must be build to represent the Palestinian people everywhere. “A body, which will reorganise the Paletinian struggle to achieve its aims. A body which will represent and use all political parties, civil society structures, NGOs, trade unions and individuals and organize their efforts internally and externally.” Bangani Ngeleza and Adri Nieuwhof write about the history of the struggle for freedom and democracy of the South African National Congress (ANC) in order to inspire Palestinians to explore new strategies. 

"This is our land, we are not going to move"

More and more, comparisons are being made between the living conditions of Palestinian Bedouins and those in the townships and informal settlements of apartheid South Africa. Human rights advocates Adri Nieuwhof and Bangani Ngeleza visited unrecognised villages in the Nakab (Negev). They travelled from Haifa in the North to the villages in the South of Israel. Near Tulkarem they noted how the Wall looked quite friendly from the Israeli side. There is a slope of earth planted with shrubs and flowers from the roadside up to the Wall. It covers the ugly high concrete Wall from the eyes of travellers on the Israeli highway. 

Unrecognised villages in the Negev expose Israel's apartheid policies

Eighty thousand Palestinian Bedouin Israelis live in unrecognised villages in the Negev desert in the south of Israel. The villages are deprived of basic services like housing, water, electricity, education and health care. With the adoption of the Israeli Planning and Construction Law in 1965, 45 villages in the Negev were not declared as existing. Recently, Bangani Ngeleza and Adri Nieuwhof visited the region. They write about the serious consequences this has had for villagers in these “unrecognised villages”. Bangani Ngeleza and Adri Nieuwhof say that pressure must be put on Israel to abandon its apartheid policies, including its refusal to recognize the existence of villages composed of its own citizens living within its national borders. 

Israel does not want peace

The trip to Tulkarem is not easy for our driver. He complains that the roads in the West Bank are changing fast. The Israeli regime is working full speed on the construction of the network of highways cutting right through the occupied Palestinian territories and incorporating parts of traditional Palestinian roads. Adri Nieuwhof and Bangani Ngeleza recently visited the occupied Palestinian territories. On a hot summer day, they travelled with a Palestinian guide from Ramallah to Jarushya, north of Tulkarem. The aim of the trip was to visit families that are affected by the Wall. The guide had contacted a leader of the community in Tulkarem and arranged for a meeting. 

Amandla Ngawethu! South Africa and Palestine compared

Sometimes the relevance of making comparisons between the liberation movements in South Africa and Palestine is questioned. Jeff Handmaker, Adri Nieuwhof and Bangani Ngeleza argue that, while the situations are by no means identical, sufficient similarities exist for Palestinians and their solidarity counterparts to draw relevant experiences and strategies that helped form the conditions for peace negotiations in South Africa. It is the massive land dispossession and disproportionate situation that has existed both for black South Africans and for Palestinians, reinforced by policies and actions designed to destroy their dignity, which have formed the primary motivators in both liberation struggles. 

Lessons from South Africa for the peace process (2/2)

History has not given the Palestinian people much reason to trust the intentions of the government of Israel. While Ariel Sharon has repeatedly claimed to be driven by a commitment to peace, his actions have so far belied his words, particularly concerning its military occupation of Palestinian territories. In this second article of a two-part series, Adri Nieuwhof, Bangani Ngeleza and Jeff Handmaker revisit key factors that built trust amongst both parties to the conflict in apartheid South Africa, without eroding key principles of the liberation movement, and reflect upon these experiences in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Lessons from South Africa for the peace process (1/2)

Despite some initial optimism following the outcome of the Palestinian presidential elections, there has been no obvious progress towards peace negotiations. This is of little surprise, since the conditions for holding negotiations simply do not exist and possibly have not even been thought through by either party. While opportunities for peace talks are fast disappearing as the region appears again to slide into outright confrontation, the writers, former anti-apartheid activists from the Netherlands, South Africa and Great Britain respectively, look back on this crucial period in South African history in the first of two articles in a series, to reflect upon and provide inspiration to the Palestinian struggle for liberation. 

Sanctions against apartheid South Africa should inspire the Palestinian people

The South African people fought for decades to free themselves of apartheid. The ANC departed from its non-violent policies in the early 1960s, becoming actively involved in the armed liberation struggle. The violence used by the ANC was directed at government institutions, economic targets and the forces involved in oppression. Nelson Mandela was arrested and imprisoned for almost 30 years. International solidarity movements supported the ANC by organising massive campaigns for sanctions and public boycotts against South Africa. A Dutch anti-apartheid activist and a South African ANC supporter whose father was imprisoned for ten years on Robben island for in his involvement in the resistance look back on activism during the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.