SA correct to punish citizens who fight in Israel’s ‘genocide’

Ramaphosa says SA is sending humanitarian aid to Palestine in the form of food and medical help through the Gift of the Givers. Picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS

Ramaphosa says SA is sending humanitarian aid to Palestine in the form of food and medical help through the Gift of the Givers. Picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS

Published Dec 24, 2023


SINCE the outbreak of the Israeli-Palestine conflict on October 7, the stance of the SA government has been abundantly clear, immediate suspension of hostilities.

Many disingenuous pro-Israeli lobby groups and their Western government backers led by the United States have mischievously ignored the historical context of the conflict.

Led by Washington, they have sought to make the world believe that the conflict only started on October 7, caused by the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas.

Credit to South Africa’s foreign policy dictates that are based on peace, equality and international cooperation that is characterised by adherence to multilateralism.

Being a country that bears the hurtful scars of racial oppression, our new dispensation is correctly premised on international humanitarian law, consensus-seeking approach to differences and a strong belief that there is strength in diversity.

That, in a nutshell, is the total summation of our national interest. As Nelson Mandela taught us, we are indeed quick to speak out against injustice, hypocrisy and discrimination, particularly based on race.

Our government is not vocal on the side of Palestinians because it is anti-Semitic, no, far from it.

Led by President Cyril Ramaphosa and his erudite, no-nonsense Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, our government is visibly pained by Israel’s genocide against the Palestinian people.

This much Ramaphosa made it categorically clear when he met with a delegation of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies who went to see the president to demand the “normalisation” of relations between SA and Israel.

Until the situation in the Middle East return to normal, the SA diplomats recalled from Tel Aviv will stay put in Pretoria, Ramaphosa stressed.

But the main trigger this week to pen this piece has been revelations that our government has gone further in its unwavering stance for peace and security for both the Palestinians and the Jews alike.

To this end, our government has adopted a tough stance against South Africans found to be fighting or working with the Israeli military forces in the ongoing genocide against the people of Palestine.

In a statement released this week by our government, the message was crystal clear for the SA-Israel dual citizens: The buck stops in Pretoria.

“South African citizens and permanent residents who have reportedly joined Israel Defence Force (IDF) in the Gaza conflict and other occupied Palestinian territories will be held liable for prosecution in SA,” the government statement read.

It elaborated: “The SA government is gravely concerned by reports that some SA citizens and permanent residents have joined or are considering joining the IDF in the war in Gaza and other occupied Palestinian territories.”

The statement was issued by Pandor’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco).

Dirco holds the view that “supporting the war against Palestine is a clear violation of international law and the commission of further international crimes”. Anyone found to have broken our domestic laws by aiding or abetting the continuation of genocide in Palestine is liable for prosecution in our country, Dirco warned.

This is spot-on. In my book, such transgressors of both local and internal laws are not missionaries. They are mercenaries.

This is what I call walking the talk, or going “full monty”. SA is one of the 153 countries that recently demanded an immediate ceasefire when they voted in the UN General Assembly in New York. We did so guided by our clear conscience, and our undying desire for peace and justice.

We voted for an immediate end to hostilities, which has seen Israel kill more than 20 000 Palestinians as part of collective punishment for Hamas’ October 7 attacks.

More than 7 000 of the dead are children and more than 5 000 women too have perished amidst thousands of airstrikes that Israel continues to unleash on the defenceless and innocent.

Thousands of other people are still trapped under the mountains of rubble – presumed dead – without any machinery or equipment to help exhume them. Distraught Palestinians, themselves survivors of the US and Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment, are forced to dig under collapsed buildings with their bare hands in search of their missing loved ones.

Thanks to the advent of social media, the raw footage of the Israeli brutality coming out of their US-backed genocidal onslaught reaches all the corners of the world instantaneously.

The powerful minority of the global north that arrogantly provides Israel with blind support are on the verge of being booted out of office by their exasperated electorate. In the US itself, President Joe Biden has assumed a new nickname, “Genocide Joe”.

In the UK, the sinking ship of the beleaguered ruling Tories is certain to drown with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his misguided lot that has lost touch with the majority of citizens who demand an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East.

France has belatedly changed tune, voting with SA in the UNGA to demand a ceasefire. But Germany and Italy continue to walk in the valley of darkness, just like “Genocidal Joe” and his bosom buddy, the Tel Aviv Butcher, Benjamin Netanyahu who surely will rot in jail once the international governance system is fully reconfigured and reconstituted.

It is a mob of a minority of wealthy states of the global north that is holding the rest of the international community to ransom with their waning support for Israel’s genocide in Palestine.

As for SA, we voted as we did, just as the majority of the civilised world did, in the wake of the US vetoing a UN Security Council’s resolution demanding immediate peace.

Our world has truly gone awry, with self-proclaimed leaders of the rest of us exhibiting scant regard for humanity and in particular the plight of Palestinian men, women and children many of who remain buried under heaps of rubble.

Credit, furthermore, to our government for referring Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC), in spite of being a court captured by the West as things stand.

Well, as they, in the absence of good things the worst is best! That’s really how the ICC comes into the fray. Their double-standards are as blatant as they are nauseating.

But then again, the Palestinians are not left alone in limbo, and never will. There are way too many good countries of the global south that will ensure that a two-state solution is implemented, where Palestinians will eventually enjoy their time under the sun, with East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine. And then, Yasser Arafat could finally rest in eternal peace and rise in glory.

Ramaphosa has revealed that “SA is sending humanitarian aid to Palestine in the form of food and medical help through the Gift of the Givers”. As I said earlier, they are not alone, them Palestine people, and never will.