The Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng says that his statements were quoted out of context and that is the reason why he has been vilified. Yet in his attempt to provide the missing context he descends into silliness when he said he loves everyone…Jews, Christians and Palestinians. Wonderful!
Nowhere in his rambling defence does he state clearly that the Palestinians are the oppressed and the Israelis are the oppressors. It’s akin to an observer of Apartheid South Africa saying ‘I love the Afrikaaners and the Black people. So what?’ Then he ventures into the aspect of forgiveness. A man who regularly beats his wife can only be considered for forgiveness when he finally decides to stop.
As in the case of South Africa, ONLY when the Apartheid government decided to end its policy of discrimination did the question of forgiveness arise and so we had the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. So the CJ again presents a context that is plainly inappropriate. Perhaps his most ridiculous contention is that South Africa can play a useful role as a mediator between the Israelis and the Palestinians if, firstly, we do not criticise either side and will therefore be regarded as an honest, unbiased broker, and secondly, given our success in reaching a negotiated settlement that ended Apartheid we thus have some special skills to end this long standing problem. The CJ is either blissfully ignorant or wilfully blind to the developments over the past 27 years when the Israelis and Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords, the so-called Peace Process, which gave a vague undertaking that the Palestinians will have an independent state on the land occupied by Israel during the Six Days War of 1967, if they abandoned their armed struggle. Not only did Israel ignore international law (UN resolutions, the Geneva Conventions, etc.) with impunity but also condemned any criticism of it’s brutal action against the Palestinians and aggressively pursued it’s colonization of the land ostensibly earmarked for a Palestinian state. When the 1993 so-called peace deal was signed there were around 150,000 Jews in the land captured in 1967 (The West Bank and East Jerusalem).
Today there are 700,000 living there in vast housing estates. Even mild criticism by Obama against the continuous building of settlements was met with strong condemnation by Israel.
Today any suggestion that Israel should withdraw to the ‘67 border is dismissed with contempt. Even the suggestion of a viable, independent state of Palestine (which was the idea implied in the so-called peace deal) is rejected outright. Israel has declared that it will annex all of the settlements whose municipal boundaries gobble up 40 % of the West Bank. Hence the idea of the Palestinians having a state is dead in the water. Bottom line: Israel rejects or ignores all criticism from any quarter, whether the UN, the EU… the whole world and continues with its brutal oppression. So the CJ’s suggestion that South Africa has a powerful profile on the world’s stage and will therefore be able to call on Israel to end its ethnic cleansing project is laughable.
Finally, the CJ says that if we condemn Israel then God will bring damnation onto our nation. So this man of justice says that we should not criticise the injustice that the Palestinians suffer at the hands of Israel because God will be angry. The God of peace and mercy will certainly not be happy with such a distorted caricature of His teachings.