The Muslim Judicial Council and Al Quds Foundation would like to convey a message of shukr, salaam and love from the Palestinian people to the families of South Africa for their love and contribution in kind and prayers towards breaking the siege on Gaza. It is through global Islamic unity that they take strength and the strong bond of Islam and love that they experience coming from the tip of Africa. The message from the honourable leader of Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, “My dear brothers from South Africa, we won’t let you down, we will remain committed towards upholding the religion of Islam until Palestine is liberated” further stating that, “we will uphold the banner of Islam and maintain the faith under these difficult conditions because we fear none but Allah(swt)”. Life will continue despite the daily threats of F16’s and conspicuous Israeli presence on their borders. This is the conviction and spirit of Palestine that we bring with us to South Africa!
The successful completion of Africa 1 Aid has undoubtedly placed on record that South African’s, true to their legacy of resisting oppression are part of the increasing global battle for justice and humanity against Israel’s illegal existence and its lawless oppression of the legitimate Palestinian nation. This mission has challenged Israeli injustice without a single bullet and no military power of our own, our armour and strength comes from Allah (swt) and through our commitment to justice and love for our brothers and sisters living under occupation. So has the flotilla’s which will continue to increase and the Miles for Smiles missions which has proudly completed its fifth mission to Gaza. It is our belief that the missions of defiance against injustice will continue to emanate from all corners of the globe until there is peace in the Holy Land, God willing.
Africa 1 Aid’s two pronged strategic approach of firstly raising Africa’s voice against the siege and secondly despatching containers of aid via sea to the people of Gaza was a resounding success with everything coinciding with our plans until the momentous occasion when the 20 vehicle convoy entered Gaza with the valiant support of the proud and free Egyptian army. The blessed mission was given total support by the Egyptian border control and government officials who facilitated their quick and speedy entry into Gaza. Only day’s earlier five Egyptian border guards were killed by Israel in another criminal act of war that has yet to be investigated.
The commitment to this mission was evidenced by the accompaniment of 67 South Africans who were led by Mlna Ihsaan Hendricks and Mlna Ahmed Muhammad. This group entered into Gaza through the Rafah border on a memorable historic day for South African’s and Palestinians. It was a day that we witnessed the support of a liberated and proud Egyptian nation who accompanied the convoy into Gaza in a show of solidarity with the mission. It was a day when Israeli presence was overshadowed by the power of good.
Brief accounts of those on the mission:
Mlna Ihsaan Hendricks - Journeys to Palestine, historically decisive
At the helm of this mission was Mlna Ihsaan Hendricks who during his reflections said that the most decisive journeys in human life have been to Palestine. This mission he said was no different, as the journey to Palestine true to its historical record was a mission of reciprocal benefit taken from the observation of life lessons learnt from the experience of the mothers, fathers and children who live their lives with death looming at their doors. The tragedy of their situation has in no way killed the spirit and vibrancy of this nation who upholds the tenets of Islam with strong faith, character and determination.
Mlna Ihsaan said that while observing the Palestinian children one is assured that the future is in good hands and South African commitment is clear when a six year old makes a handmade clock in honor of the children of Palestine.
Friday Khutabah in Gaza was led by South African Ulema and was titled the “Jumuah of Africa in Solidarity with Gaza” with Mlna Ihsaan, Shaykh Hamid Gabier, Shaykh Ebrahim Gabriels, Mlna Abdul Khaliq Allie and Shaykh Isgaak Taliep leading khutabah across Gaza.
Mlna Abdul Khaliq Allie – SA’s collective response
During his account Mlna Abdul Khaliq Allie, Secretary General (MJC) said that this mission represents the first major collective South African response to the call of the people of Gaza. He said that every masjid, town and city that the convoy passed through overwhelmed them with their warm messages and support for the mission. As the convoy moved from the Cape to Klerksdorp, Kimberley, Benoni and Springs amongst other cities, it experienced the collective love and solidarity in ways that could not have been imagined, said Mlna Allie. People took ownership of this mission, every city organized their own unique welcome committee and send off. The convoy was overwhelmed by a helicopter accompanying them to motorbike clubs joining the convoy and streets were literally brought to a standstill.
Shaykh Ebrahim Gabriels – A day of joy and laughter with 3000 orphans
Of those present was Shaykh Ebrahim Gabriels, ex President of United Ulama Council and representative of Al Aqsa Foundation (SA) said that Gaza is blessed with a leader who leads his people with consciousness of their responsibilities on this dunya (earth) and akhirah (year-after). Ismail Haniyeh, Prime Minister of Gaza is an astute and decisive politician, is hafithul quran and a man who leads the prayers in his mosque and guides his nation spiritually, said Shaykh Ebrahim.
He also recalled a special day when the South African delegation hosted a function for 3000 orphaned children with an 8 year old who conducted the role of master of ceremonies. The MC welcomed the guests with songs defining a clear message of their role “We are the children and future of Palestine”, “We are strong, committed and our future is in our hands”. This is the spirit and vision of these children said Shaykh Ebrahim, they are living with a purpose and have taken on the responsibility to protect their nation. There was squells of excitement and laughter when the children received their goodies, lollypops, backpacks and stationery.
In conclusion, this aid convoy that embarked on its mission by sea on the 14 July 2011 and land on 29 July 2001 successfully completed both missions and returned to South Africa with joyful memories, satisfaction and confirmation that the embargo placed on Gaza is yet another failed Israeli attempt to dominate and strangle the will of the people.
PUBLIC AFFAIRS/MEDIA LIAISON