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Israel actions against Palestinians 'remind us of apartheid': Ex-South African Minister

December 13, 2023 at 5:56 pm

Ronnie Kasrils, former Intelligence Minister protest outside the US Consulate on October 11, 2023 in Sandton, South Africa [Gallo Images/Die Burger/Deaan Vivier]

The conditions that Israel has imposed in Palestinian Territories and on Palestinians are very similar to what South Africans experienced under apartheid, according to the leading figure of the country’s anti-apartheid movement, Anadolu Agency reports.

Many South African freedom fighters, including former President, Nelson Mandela, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and even ordinary South Africans who have visited the Occupied Palestinian Territories were disturbed by what they saw, Ronnie Kasrils, a Jewish South African who fought apartheid and served as a former intelligence minister told Anadolu.

It just reminds us of what we experienced during apartheid; “the repressiveness, cruelty, police brutality, restrictions on movement, arrests, detentions and illegal settlers who have taken Palestinian land

he said.

He said Israel’s “invasion and appropriation of water and land, as well as the destruction of Palestinian homes and olive farms is a racist measure.”

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Israel is using a tactic similar to what the former South African apartheid regime employed when it pushed Black South Africans off their land to create Bantustan territories that were only for Black people, he said.

“Israel is an apartheid state. “It’s a settler state, which was what South Africa was during the apartheid era,” said Kasrils.

Unlike in South Africa, where the colonialists exploited Black people for labour, the Israeli regime does not want Palestinian workers for fear of demographics, and is now sourcing workers from African countries like Malawi and Thailand in Asia, he said.

In the eyes of the multitude of racists in Israel, the Palestinians are Untermenschen, less than human or even animals, he said, citing the term Nazis used for people they viewed as inferior.

That is how leaders and supporters of apartheid used to refer to Black people in South Africa, he added.

‘Anti-Zionist is not anti-Jewish’

The former anti-apartheid stalwart said he has been branded by some as an anti-Semite for his stance in favour of Palestinians’ rights.

“There are righteous Jews in the world who say being anti-Israel is not equivalent to being anti-Jewish or anti-Judaic. Being anti-Zionist does not mean one is anti-Jewish,” said Kasrils.

“We don’t equate Zionism, a political doctrine, with our ethnic origin,” he said.

During the ongoing Gaza crisis, South Africa has taken a clear stance in favour of Palestine, condemning Israel’s deadly assault on the Gaza Strip, which has now killed more than 18,600 Palestinians and injured nearly 50,600.

However, it has also condemned Hamas for attacking and kidnapping Israeli civilians.

Last month, South Africa withdrew all its diplomats from Tel Aviv for consultation, while the parliamentarians also voted in favour of closing down the Israeli Embassy in the capital, Pretoria, and suspend diplomatic ties with Israel.

South Africa is also among the five countries, along with Bangladesh, Bolivia, Comoros and Djibouti, that have called for an International Criminal Court investigation into Israel’s war on Gaza.

During his time as a government minister from 2004 to 2008, Kasrils said he started a process in South Africa where Jews signed petitions calling for peace and an end to Israel’s war on Palestine.

Since 7 October, more than 1,000 Jews have signed a petition calling for an immediate ceasefire, he added.

Israel claims it represents Jews everywhere, which is not the case. It’s a lie

said Kasrils.

“We want a world where people stand together for justice against injustice. That gives one hope and I believe the Palestinians will win in the end. I support that totally.”

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