South African International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Naledi Pandor, will ask South African President Cyril Ramaphosa – who currently chairs the African Union (AU) – to urge heads of African countries to take a strong and unequivocal stand against Israel’s impending move to annex the Jordan Valley and apply sovereignty on illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
According to the Palestinian information Centre, Pandor made the pledge in a phone call to Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister, Riyad Malki, last week.
Palestine solidarity groups and civil society movements from across the African continent have welcomed Pandor’s actions and are working to ensure that other African countries join South Africa in supporting the Palestinian right to statehood and speak out against Israel’s annexation plans.
Speaking to the Afro-Palestine Newswire Service from Accra, Ras Mubarak of the Ghanaian Palestine Solidarity Committee welcomed Pandor and South Africa’s consistent leadership on the Palestinian issue. “I am excited that President Ramaphosa is heading up the AU, and I hope that – true to his word – he will be able to rally his fellow heads of state in Africa to take firm and decisive actions against an Israeli gangster state that consistently flouts international law,” said Mubarak.
The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in Botswana hoped that Botswana will also take a similar stand against Israeli colonialism and annexation at the AU, UN and other international forums, said UDC communications officer, Moeti Mohwasa. Mohwasa further urged the Botswana government, civil society and the private sector to resist Israel’s charm offensive in Botswana and elsewhere on the African continent.
“Israel’s offers of agricultural and water technology, security, business, trade and investment opportunities are designed to buy support for its plans to colonize Palestine,” warned Mohwasa.
Robson Musarafu of Zimbabwe Friends of Palestine commended Pandor’s actions and “urges African Union member states to protest against Israeli moves to annex the West Bank.”
The South African BDS Coalition was encouraged by Pandor’s intention to take the issue to AU level. The group also called on the AU to ensure that African governments adopt a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly which renews the call for sanctions on Israel, including a military embargo.
Palestinians have similarly welcomed South Africa’s actions.
Pandor’s statements are important given South Africa’s seat at the UN Security Council and its leadership at the African Union, but it is vital that other African states follow South Africa’s example and speak out against Israel’s colonization of Palestine, says Palestinian ambassador to South Africa, Hanan Jarar. “Africa is a cornerstone of support for Palestinians. The continent’s long history and lived experiences of struggle against colonialism and apartheid is at the core of its solidarity with the Palestinian people. Turning a blind eye to Israeli settler-colonialism would betray African history and principles,” said Jarar.
“We greatly appreciate the efforts of the South African government to mobilize other African countries to take action against Israel, instead of simply standing aside,” said Hamas International Relations Minister, Basem Naim.
From 1 July, Israel intends applying Israeli sovereignty to hundreds of settlements deep in the occupied West Bank. This move will, effectively, annex large areas of the West Bank – permanently killing off any chances of an independent Palestinian state. – Afro-Palestine Newswire Service