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Is South Africa about to sever diplomatic ties with Israel?

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file picture, Israeli military forces arrest a Palestinian child during clashes in the occupied West Bank. (Photo via Twitter)

A media commentator has lauded South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor’s threat of taking “direct action” against the Tel Aviv regime over its apartheid practices, stating that such an approach attests to her country’s solidarity with Palestinians.

Iqbal Jassat, an executive at the Johannesburg-based Media Review Network (MRN), a socio-political advocacy group that concerns itself with media and political analysis, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Saturday.

Jassat said the fresh commitment by South Africa’s top diplomat has been welcomed by pro-Palestine groups and attests to the solidarity of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party with Palestine.

The analyst went on to say that Pandor “pitched her forthright comments” by referring to recent human rights reports on Israel, which she described as “well-documented apartheid practices of Israel.”

Jassat further highlighted that the South African foreign minister has not only been vocally opposing the African Union (AU)’s decision to grant Israel an observer status at the continental body, but has also been leading efforts to revoke the move.

“Her arguments, supported by Algeria and a number of AU member states, revolve around the AU charter, which rejects colonialism, racism and illegal occupation. By specifically singling out [Moussa Faki] Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission, as the person responsible for Israel’s observer status [at the pan-African bloc], the stage for acrimony between them was set,” the commentator said.

Jassat noted that Pandor roundly dismissed Mahamat’s criticism of diplomatic ties between South Africa and Israel and its simultaneous opposition to the regime’s AU observer status.

She underscored that “diplomatic relations with Israel cannot be used by anyone as a reason for bringing Israel into the African Union,” the analyst said.

Jassat said Pandor’s threat of “direct action” is expected to be translated into a substantial departure from the current diplomatic relations.

Addressing the parliament earlier this week, Pandor pointed to South Africa’s history of struggle, saying the values derived from the struggle against racism and colonialism “make us duty-bound to be a voice for the oppressed and marginalized everywhere.”

“We are studying the recent human rights reports on Israel, and hope to approach the cabinet with a further proposed direct action against well-documented apartheid practices of Israel,” she said.

The remarks came after three human rights reports, stating that Israel should be deemed a regime that committed the crime of apartheid against Palestinian people.


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