By Al Qalam Reporter and JP
Mandla Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela, is on his way back to South Africa after concluding a historic visit to Palestine where he met top leaders, including President Mahmoud Abbas. He did not meet Israeli officials.
During a joint press conference with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Monday, Mandela said, “The settlements I saw here [in the West Bank] reminded me of what we had suffered in South Africa because we also were surrounded by many settlements and were not allowed to move from one place to another freely. Palestinians are being subjected to the worst version of apartheid.”
According to the Jerusalem Post, Mandela said: “Israel is the worst apartheid regime” and called for the continued support of BDS and for South Africa to cut all ties with “apartheid Israel.”
While meeting with Mandela in Ramallah, Hamdallah highlighted the inspiring legacy of the younger Mandela’s late grandfather Nelson.
Hamdallah stressed the strength of bilateral ties between the Palestinian Authority and South Africa and highlighted the historic relationship formed between the late presidents Yasser Arafat and Nelson Mandela. He also praised South Africa’s position in supporting the Palestinian people and championing their cause in the international arena.
Hamdallah briefed the South African MP on Israel’s so-called “violations against the Palestinians, including the settlement expansion and displacement projects which constitute a major obstacle to realizing the dream of establishing a Palestinian state.”
The two politicians also discussed ways to strengthen their cooperation and advance bilateral relations.
During an interview with Royal News English, Mandla said: “What we have experienced in South Africa is a fraction of what the Palestinians are experiencing. Us, we were oppressed in order to serve the white minority. The Palestinians are being eliminated off their land and brought out of their territories, and this is a total human-rights violations. I think it is a total disgrace that the world is able to sit back while such atrocities are being carried out by apartheid Israel.”
He visited Bethlehem, Jerusalem and the mausoleum of Yasser Arafat in Ramallah.
Close to the mausoleum is a six-meter high, bronze statue of Nelson Mandela, who is famous among Palestinians for saying: “We know all too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
Prior to the four-day visit, Mandela met with Palestinian leader and BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti in Amman, Jordan.
Barghouti commented that: “Chief Mandla Mandela is exceptionally inspiring, not only for carrying forward Madiba’s legacy of justice and internationalism, but also for seeing solidarity with the struggle for Palestinian liberation as a South African ethical obligation. Palestinians are proud of and deeply grateful for this solidarity from Madiba, Chief Mandla Mandela and from the great people of South Africa.” During his meeting Barghouti reiterated Palestinian support for the shutdown of the SA Embassy in Tel Aviv.
Mandela has in the past made several calls for the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador to South Africa and has continuously supported the cutting of ties between Israel and South Africa.