8 December 2023

[Photo source - eNCA]

By Al Qalam Reporter

The Israeli Embassy has denied a visa to Member of Parliament, Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam to visit Palestine to attend the 75th Anniversary Nakba Conference.

The National Freedom Party (NFP) said in a statement that this shows that Israel was “attempting to silence voices” and hinder the democratic rights of elected representatives to advocate for justice and human rights. 

“This is what we expect from an illegitimate Apartheid regime. And unfortunately, this is the price you pay for standing for human rights and the freedom of Palestinians. Israel continues to show that they will attempt to silence voices critical of its Apartheid practices,” said NFP Leader in Parliament, Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam. 

The party believes the denial of a visa to Shaik Emam was a direct consequence of his unwavering dedication to the Palestinian cause: He recently introduced and championed the motion for the downgrading of the SA embassy in Israel which received strong support and passed with an overwhelming majority in the South African Parliament.

He also championed the cause for visa-free entry into South Africa for Palestinians and shed light on the funds channeled from South African citizens to Israel to support the apartheid state. In addition, MP Shaik Emam called for the cessation of citizenship for individuals involved in the Israeli Military. 

In a statement, the party said the denial of a visa to MP Shaik Emam was not an isolated incident but part of a pattern of restricting the movement of elected officials, human rights activists, and journalists who seek to engage with and bear witness to the realities faced by Palestinians in the occupied territories.

Fellow MP and PAC leader, Mzwanele Nyhontso who is also a vocal supporter of Palestine – and supported the motion brought by the NFP to downgrade the SA Embassy in Israel – has also been denied a visa to Palestine. This blatant attempt to silence critical voices undermines the principles of democracy, transparency, and freedom of expression that lie at the heart of any just and equitable society. 

The NFP firmly believes that every individual, includingelected representatives, should have the unrestricted right to visit Palestine, witness the conditions on the ground, and express solidarity with the Palestinian people. By denying entry to those who seek to stand in solidarity with Palestine, Israel is not only infringing upon the rights of individuals but also obstructing the path to a peaceful resolution and mutual understanding. 

“Israel has shown that it does not regard Palestine as a state or an equal. The very fact that they can exercise authority over who can enter Palestine shows their Apartheid practices. They do not want the world to see what they are doing to Palestinians, so they think that by denying me and other members of parliament visas, we will cease our criticism of them. Instead, this has emboldened us even more,” he said.

“The NFP urgently calls upon the international community, human rights organizations, and governments worldwide to closely scrutinize the individuals within the South African political sphere who align themselves with pro-Israeli interests and the funding they receive from the Israeli lobby. We vehemently assert that the NFP is not for sale, and we will not compromise our core values and principles for monetary gain. Our commitment to justice, human rights, and the Palestinian cause remains unwavering, and we stand firm against any attempts to influence our stance through financial means. The NFP will continue to advocate for a free Palestine. 

The National Freedom Party urges the South African government to treat Israel in accordance with their Apartheid actions, by placing restrictions on visas and actively downgrading economic and trade relations with the Apartheid State. 

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