In the past few weeks, news has spread around Argentina that the country will be part of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Israel signed by the governments of the Mercosur. The Mercosur is a customs union that today includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela, and five other South American countries with associate member status.
The escalation of attacks against the Palestinian people in Gaza this week and its correlative images across international media, has spread awareness in ever larger sectors of Argentinaâs progressive movement that this Free Trade Agreement is no less than a stipulated complicity in the crimes of the Israeli Apartheid and Occupation.
***image2***On July 6th, 2006 a massive demonstration against the latest Israeli invasion of Gaza took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina in front of the Israeli embassy. Numerous political, religious, and Arab organizations took part in an impressive march to the Israeli mission where they openly expressed their opposition to the recent Israeli aggression.
Hebe de Bonafini, President of Madres de Plaza de Mayo, took part in the demonstration. Since 1976, this organization has been committed to searching for people who disappeared (presumably assassinated) during the last military dictatorship. Hebe de Bonafini took part in this event and expressed her full support for the demonstration and for the Palestinian cause. The Director of the Organizacion Islamica Argentina (Argentina Islamic Organization) was also present and read a public communiquÃ©. It repudiated the Israeli invasion of Palestinian territories and stated clearly that religious problems do not divide people, but domination and colonialism do. Towards the end of the event, the President of the Federacion de Entidades Palestinas de la Republica Argentina, Mrs. Tilda Rabi, read a public declaration on behalf of the federation which highlighted the responsibility of the international community in putting an end to the renewed Israeli aggression. She especially emphasized the need to end the invasion and the Israeli practice of âselectiveâ killings against Palestinians. She also demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, a demand that has been articulated repeatedly by Palestinian political parties, activist groups, and large sectors of Palestinian civil society.
So far, the Argentinean campaign against the FTA with Israel has included groups such as MoPaSSol, FederaciÃ³n de Entidades Argentino-Palestinas, Movimiento SI de los Pueblos, Partido de la LiberaciÃ³n. This campaign is a clear and immediate response to Israelâs on-going crimes and an act of solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle that has been on-going for the last 60 years.
At the upcoming âPeopleâs Summitâ that will protest the larger socio-economic policies of the Mercosur, groups from around Latin America plan to articulate their rejection of the FTA and echo growing calls to isolate Apartheid Israel internationally. A similar mobilization against the FTA is also taking place in Brazil.