Today marks exactly a month since Hamas’ unprecedented deadly attack on Israel.
The escalating Middle East conflict has so far claimed the lives of 10 000 people, including over 4 000 children.
The month-long conflict has resulted in South Africa withdrawing all its diplomats from Israel for consultation, a move Pretoria says is in the best interest of the country.
The government says the genocide under the watch of the international community cannot be tolerated.
Minister of International Relations, Naledi Pandor, says South Africa is extremely concerned about the ongoing killing of children and other innocent civilians in the Palestinian territories.
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) says South Africa’s decision is a pointless petty act designed to gain favour with Hamas.
The board’s Professor Karen Milner says the move by government has only left South African citizens in Israel in a vulnerable position.
“What the South African Government is doing now, at a very dangerous time in the Middle East is effectively abandoning South African citizens in the region.
“It is problematic that it is doing so without calling for the release of hostages or even asking about South African hostages currently under tunnels in Gaza.”
‘A little too late’
Labour Federation, Saftu, says while the organisation welcomes the recall of diplomats in Israel, the move is not only inadequate – but also a little too late.
The labour federation believes that Pretoria’s ties with Israel should have been severed decades ago.
Saftu’s spokesperson, Trevor Shaku, says the organisation will be pushing for the immediate expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and the closure of the Israeli embassy.
“Our governments must take concrete steps in isolating Israel including expelling their ambassadors, closing their embassies, refusing to participate in any international sporting and cultural competitions that involve Israel, and expropriate and/or expel their foreign direct investments from our shores.”
The organisation has also called for the boycotting of Israeli products on the shelves, including refusing to do any kind of business with the country allegedly driving another Holocaust.
FF Plus not convinced
FF Plus leader, Peiter Groenewald, is however singing a different tune to Saftu, saying cutting diplomatic ties with Israel will not be beneficial.
He says the move will prove to be detrimental for Pretoria.
“The decision by South Africa to withdraw all its diplomats from Israel for consultation is only a smoke screen to give a strong message to Israel that they may consider breaking all diplomatic ties with Israel.”
ANC slams crimes against humanity
The governing ANC says the genocidal actions of the Israeli regime on the people of Palestine in Gaza and the West Bank are crimes against humanity.
The governing party has reiterated its call for an immediate cease-fire.
“The ANC continues to pledge and intensify its solidarity with the people of Palestine for freedom, independence, justice, and equality.”
Like Saftu, the EFF wants Pretoria to completely sever all political and economic relations with, what the party terms, Apartheid Israel.
The party says this is a necessary step in the continued solidarity with the people of Palestine.
“This move must be made permanent, and should not only end with mere consultations. Terminating diplomatic ties relations with a racist genocidal nation is imperative, especially as a country that has its own painful history of Apartheid.”
Written by: Lindiwe Mpanza