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Israeli forces continue recruiting South African citizens for war in Gaza: Activists

A man stands in the midst of devastation caused by months of Israeli bombardment in Khan Yunis on April 7, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Three activist organizations in South Africa have expressed grave concern over the recruitment of the country’s citizens in the Israeli military, saying the process is still underway despite the country's warnings.

The recruitments take place even though South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor has already warned that South African citizens who are fighting alongside Israeli forces in Gaza will be arrested once they return home.

The Palestine Solidarity Alliance, the Media Review Network, and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign said on Sunday that Colonel Golan Vach, a 35-year veteran in the Israeli military, is responsible for these recruitments.

They also called for the arrest of Vach to face trial in South Africa “for various crimes against humanity, war crimes, spreading disinformation, recruiting South Africans to fight in a third country, and furthering the military interests of Israel in an armed conflict against South African law.”

Back in March, Pandor said the arrest would be made against her country’s nationals who either fight in the Israeli armed forces or alongside them in the war-torn coastal sliver, adding that those with dual South African-Israeli citizenship could be stripped of their South African citizenship.

The three solidarity groups further noted Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza has now entered the 6th month, resulting in massive numbers of massacres and widespread destruction despite the recent UN Security Council ceasefire resolution.

The Israeli regime “remains adamant to continue pummeling Gaza, and using starvation as a weapon of war, they said, demanding that “this be put to a stop.”

South Africa, which has a significant Jewish population of around 70,000 people, has been an outspoken critic of the Israeli regime's genocidal war on Palestinians and has led some initiatives to hold Israel accountable for its crimes in Gaza.

Israel began the campaign of death and destruction in Gaza on October 7, 2023, after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas carried out Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the usurping entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

Since then, the regime has killed more than 33,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured some 75,800 others. The regime has also imposed a “complete siege” on the territory, cutting off fuel, electricity, food and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

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