+320 Latin American public figures, including former leaders, call for sanctions on Israel

Over 320 public figures from Latin America, including former leaders, signed yesterday a statement calling for imposing sanctions on Israel in response to its plan to annex portions of the occupied Palestinian territory and for its apartheid practices, according to the Palestinian Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions Movement (BDS).

Among the prominent signatories were Presidents Dilma Rousseff (Brazil), Lula da Silva (Brazil), Evo Morales (Bolivia), Ernesto Samper (Colombia), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), José Mujica (Ecuador), and Fernando Lugo (Paraguay), in addition to Brazilian singers Chico Buarque and Caetano Veloso, and Argentinean Nobel Peace Prize-winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel.

The BDS National Committee said on its website that the statement was part of a South African initiative to unify Global South support from Africa, Asia and Latin America for the Palestinian civil society call for sanctions in response to Israel’s planned formal annexation.

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The statement also calls for the reactivation of the UN Special Committee against Apartheid, last functional during the era of apartheid in South Africa, with the aim of putting an end to Israel’s apartheid policies targeting the Palestinian people.

Brazil’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense, Celso Amorim, a signatory to the statement, said, "The proposed annexation of Palestinian territory by Israel is not only an offense against international law and a threat to peace, it is an attack against women and men who fought against colonialism and apartheid. The voice of the South must be heard!"

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In a related initiative, added the BDS National Committee, the South African Civil Society in Solidarity with Palestine will hold an online rally this Saturday, July 4, with Noura Erakat, Palestinian human rights attorney and professor; BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti; ANC MP Mandla Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela; Rajmohan Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi; South African activist Phakamile Hlubi Majola; Celso Amorim, former Foreign and Defense Minister of Brazil; Karol Cariola, Chilean Deputy; and others.

In June, South African signatories including prominent figures endorsed the same statement. The signatories included former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe; former Mozambican cabinet Minister Oscar Monteiro; former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay; General Secretary of the South African Federation of Trade Unions Zwelinzima Vavi; Deputy Secretary General of the ANC Jessie Duarte; Minister of Higher Education and Secretary of the South African Communist Party Blade Nzimande; General Secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa Irvin Jim; and former Commissioner at SA Human Rights Commission Pregs Govender.