The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says supporting Israel is akin to betraying the values of the South African constitution.
Party leader Julius Malema was speaking during a debate in the National Assembly, titled “Removing the Israeli embassy and suspension of all diplomatic relations with Israel”.
This as Israel seems unrelenting in its onslaught on Gaza where thousands of civilians have been killed, many of them children.
He has called on the world to impose economic sanctions on Israel while urging the South African government to expel the Israeli ambassador.
Malema says with South Africa’s history, the country cannot be in support of Israel. He calls on the African National Congress (ANC)-led government to take a stand against Israel.
“We call on the Ramaphosa-led ANC government to shut down the Israeli embassy in Pretoria and end diplomatic relations with the brutal Israeli regime. In the name of our constitutional values, we must end relations until the human rights of Palestinians are promoted, respected, and protected.
“As survivors of apartheid ourselves, we must fight on the side of the people of Palestine, on the side of the weak. We are calling on MPs and SA people to support the call to remove the Israeli embassy. We can’t share a territory with murderers,” Malema adds.
This motion was supported by ATM leader, Vuyo Zungula, the National Freedom Party’s Sheik Emam and Al Jamah leader, Ganief Hendricks.
National Assembly debates on SA and Israel relations:
Parties like the DA, Freedom Front Plus, IFP and ACDP argue, among others, that closing down the embassy means South Africa can not positively contribute to negotiations.
DA MP Emma Powell, FF Plus Chief Whip Corne Mulder, IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa and ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe express their reservations.
“We will continue to speak out against radicalism, hatred, and tyranny and call for the protection of innocent civilians and the right of both Palestinians and Israelis to sovereignty, statehood and security.
“The fact of the matter is that if we expel the Israeli ambassador and cut all diplomatic ties, SA won’t be in a position to play a role in mediation or play a constructive role to bring this conflict to an end.”
In recent weeks, marches in support of either Palestine or Israel have taken place in various parts of South Africa.
Malema adds that supporting the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the accompanying brutality and violence is a betrayal of the values of the South African Constitution.
The deputy minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Candith Mashego-Dlamini has again repeated South Africa’s call for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East.
Mashego-Dlamini says war crimes were committed by Israel and Hamas, and both must be investigated for the violation of international law. She says an immediate ceasefire is called for.
“South Africa is calling for an immediate ceasefire, the urgent reentry of massive human aid, urgent deployment of UN protection force to protect civilians, the release of civilians hostage and ICC to expedite investigate and haul those who have directed this war and hold responsible for their war crime,” says Mashego-Dlamini.