The South African Zionist Federation says South Africa is excluding itself from a mediation role she needs to play in bringing about peace in the Gaza region by acting in haste in taking sides.
Thousands of people in Cape Town participated in a protest march on Parliament in solidarity with the Palestinian people’s Great Return March.
Various faith based organisations and NGO’s joined the Muslim Judicial Council in calling for the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador from South Africa in response to what it calls the continued oppression of the Palestinian people.
They came in their numbers hoisting Palestinian flags and donning its colours. All in a show of support. Speakers commended the South African government for recalling its ambassador to Israel.
The Deputy President of the Muslim Judicial Council, Sheikh Riad Fataar says, “Our Christian, Jewish brethren, Hindu’s everybody is here making up this rainbow nation of South Africa and we have only one agenda, we’re saying that the Palestinians have a right of return and they have a right to peacefully show the world how do you peacefully stand up and somebody just shoots you with a gun, that is completely unacceptable.”
Among those calling for international solidarity with the Palestinian people was the ANC’s Deputy Secretary General, Jesse Duarte.
“We instructed our government to downgrade our relationship with Israel, and we thank comrade Lindiwe Sisulu for taking that step, she is brave, she knows that she has to do the right thing but the next step is to, in fact kick out the Israeli ambassador. Why should we have an ordinary relationships with the state of Israel, there is no reason.”
ANC Member of Parliament Chief Mandla Mandela accepted the memorandum of grievances on behalf of Parliament.
He has commended the South African government for withdrawal of its Ambassador to Israel, Sisa Ngombane with immediate effect until further notice. Mandela has also called for the Israeli Embassy in South Africa to be closed.
“And we want to condemn the actions of the apartheid Israeli government and call on them to adhere to human rights and ensure that that they adhere to UN resolutions and give the right of return to Palestinians to their land. My grandfather coined this the greatest moral issue of our time.”
Spokesperson for the South African Zionist Federation, Rowan Polovin says the South African government is short sighted as it is removing itself from playing a mediating role.
“If South Africa takes this unilateral action to say we actually going to withdraw from this point of engagement and dialogue it actually excludes South Africa and South Africa should actually be saying you know what we want to sit between the Israelis and the Palestinians, we want to bring our own knowledge and experience to the discussion, we’re not actually calling for peace and engagement and dialogue and I really feel South Africa should take that role as opposed to withdrawing and simply criticizing Israel.”
The march dispersed peacefully.