Palestinian and South African on National Anti-Apartheid Speaking Tour

November 6th, 2008

Who: Diana Buttu and Rev. Eddie Makue
What: "Separate Is Never Equal: Stories of Apartheid from South Africa and Palestine"
When: November 10-24
Where: 11 U.S. Cities

Palestinian Diana Buttu and South African Rev. Eddie Makue will participate in a Nov. 10-24 national speaking tour, "Separate Is Never Equal: Stories of Apartheid from South Africa and Palestine," sponsored by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

The apartheid-like structures imposed by Israel on Palestinians in the occupied territories have received increasing attention in recent years, particularly with publication of President Jimmy Carter's book, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid.

Just last year, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert noted that if the two-state solution collapsed, Israel would "face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights." And Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last month that "I continue to believe that we can achieve a lasting peace, with the Israeli and Palestinian peoples living as neighbors in two independent states. But if we do not succeed, and succeed soon, the parameters of the debate are apt to shift dramatically. Israel's continued settlement expansion and land confiscation in the West Bank makes physical separation of our two peoples increasingly impossible."

These leaders' comments suggest that Israel has a choice between a speedy embrace of two states or an apartheid-like system in which people living under Israeli control are subject to different legal systems and hold different rights. Alternatively, talk of one state with equal rights for all may receive increasing attention during the course of the next four- or eight-year American administration.

Diana Buttu was born to Palestinian citizens of Israel who moved to Canada to protect their family from the discrimination they faced in their homeland. After earning a law degree from Queen's University in Canada and a Masters of Law from Stanford University in the U.S., Ms. Buttu moved to Palestine in 2000. Shortly after her arrival, the second Intifada began and she took a position with the Negotiations Support Unit of the PLO. She was a frequent commentator for American journalists for much of the second Intifada. While Ms. Buttu is no longer employed by the PLO, she continues to speak for Palestinian rights and remains a regular source for journalists covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Read more: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/downloads/buttubio.pdf

Rev. Eddie Makue's South African civil rights work began in 1982 when he founded the Transvaal Anti-President's Council Committee and the Eldorado Park Residents Association and Advice Office. As state-sanctioned apartheid was dismantled, Rev. Makue worked to prepare his fellow South Africans for truly democratic elections, helping to found the Independent Forum on Electoral Education in 1992, the Democracy Education and Lobbying Forum in 1994, and the South African Civil Society Election Observation Coalition in 1998. In 2005, Rev. Makue put this electoral experience to work as a member of an election monitoring delegation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. In 2006, Rev. Makue was appointed to his current position as General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches. Read more: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/downloads/makuebio.pdf