The “apartheid Israel state” is worse than the apartheid that was conducted in South Africa, Willie Madisha, the Congress of SA Trade Unions president, said today. He said Palestinians were being attacked with heavy machinery and tanks used in war which had never happened in South Africa. Cosatu and other organisations supporting Palestine have called on government to end diplomatic relations with Israel and establish boycotts and sanctions such as those against apartheid South Africa.
Israel has launched several attacks on Gaza, bombing its main university and firing missiles which have killed Palestinian bystanders. This follows the capture of an Israeli soldier by Palestinians. “We see no justification for this attack,” said Ali Hamileh, Palestinian ambassador to South Africa. He said while the whole world was talking about one Israeli soldier, more than 10 000 Palestinians were being kept in Israeli jails.
“My leadership made it clear the soldier can be released immediately if Israel responds to mediation. The demand for exchange of prisoners is justified by international law. We are not demanding something unacceptable,” he said. Virginia Tilley, the professor of political science, said South Africa, was one of the only places where a vision had been brought forward to address collective punishment of perceived inferiority.
“I can’t imagine a better beacon in that struggle than this country and it has stood back. If there is any moral authority in South Africa, it must come into play now,” she said. Madisha said Israel should be seen as an apartheid state and the same sanctions must be applied that were established against South Africa.