The war on Gaza may be at a ceasefire stage, but guest contributor Saajida Malvina makes a renewed plea to expel the Israeli Ambassador to South Africa.
On the 5th of August 2014 the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma received a round of applause in Washington D.C. after he said that expelling the Israeli Ambassador to SA was not going to solve anything. A week ago Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa reiterated a similar sentiment when he answered the question posed by EFF saying "South Africa is not considering expelling the democratic relations with Israel. We will remain engaged and we will voice our protest." He added that our country thus reserved a seat at the negotiation table.
These comments left me startled and took me off guard as a South African. South Africa went through apartheid after an Afrikaaner minority ruled us. They believed they were superior to other races and Blacks were meant to serve. People of colour had no right to vote, the Black population were confined to Bantustans and were exploited to do hard labour. There was no freedom of movement and Blacks were required to obtain a permit in order to leave their Bantustans. Those who opposed the policies were brutally attacked, tortured, languished in prison for decades, murdered or assassinated. The ANC and other resistant parties realised that they had to change their tactics and called for economic sanctions and boycott of sports in order to isolate South Africa from the rest of the world. The announcement was made in the 1960's and grew to a momentum by the 80's.
In contrast to apartheid here in South Africa, Willie Madisha, former COSATU leader and COPE deputy leader said, "that was a Sunday picnic compared to Israelis oppression of Palestinians." He explained that apartheid was characterised by killings, disappearances, inferior education and the creation of Bantustans. Apartheid was brutal, but we were not faced with F16 fighter planes, helicopter and gunships or sieges on a city. There were no separate roads like there is for Palestinians and Israelis, or different number plates for both the factions. Neither was a huge wall built which stole more Palestinian land and is against International law. The U.N. has passed hundreds of resolutions against Israel that it has ignored.
How then can the South African government expect Israel to listen to them after they wantonly ignore the UN and International Law? Palestinian civil groups have called on countries to Boycott Divest and employ Sanctions against Israel. As a country who went through apartheid we should set a precedent and end diplomatic ties until equality and justice is served. We forget not our former president and world icon Nelson Mandela who said: "Our freedom is incomplete until Palestine is free.''
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