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Naledi Pandor: “South Africans fighting for Israel will be arrested”

Naledi Pandor: “South Africans fighting for Israel will be arrested”
South Africa's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Naledi Pandor, after a session of the International Court   -  
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South Africa

South Africa's foreign minister said her country's citizens who fight in or alongside Israel's armed forces in Gaza will be arrested upon their return, widening the divide between the two nations after South Africa brought charges of genocide against Israel to the highest court of the United Nations.

Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor commented earlier this week during a demonstration in solidarity with the Palestinians attended by representatives of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.

She also encouraged people to demonstrate outside the embassies of what she called the "five main supporters" of Israel and its military action in Gaza. She did not name them but was certainly referring to the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, among others.

“I have already started to alert South Africans fighting alongside or in the Israeli Defense Forces: We are ready. When you return home, we will arrest you,” Pandor said, to loud applause. assistance.

In December, the Department of Foreign Affairs said the South African government was concerned that some of its citizens or permanent residents had joined the Israeli Defense Forces to fight in Gaza and warned that they could be prosecuted because They had not received permission to do so under South African arms control laws.

People with dual South African and Israeli citizenship could have their South African citizenship revoked, the Department of Foreign Affairs said. Ms Pandor's comments represent an apparent hardening of the government's position.

It is unclear how many South African citizens have fought for Israel in the current war in Gaza. South Africa has a significant Jewish population of around 70,000 people.

The South African government has supported the Palestinian people and criticized Israel even before the current war.

The issue is close to the heart of the ruling ANC party and many South Africans who for years have compared Israel's policies towards Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank to the treatment of non-whites. in South Africa during the apartheid era, marked by forced racial segregation and oppression.

Israel denies South Africa's accusation that it applied a form of apartheid to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and strongly rejects South Africa's accusation before the International Court of Justice that it is committing genocide in Gaza. The verdict in this case could take years.

Israel responded by accusing South Africa of being a representative of the Hamas militant group that attacked southern Israel on October 7, killing around 1,200 Israelis and taking 250 hostages back to Gaza, thus starting the war.

The Israeli assault on Gaza has killed more than 31,000 Palestinians, driven most of the coastal enclave's 2.3 million residents from their homes and caused a humanitarian catastrophe, with hundreds of thousands of Palestinians on the brink of collapse famine.

Pandor asked participants at this week's Palestinian solidarity dinner to make posters reading "Stop the Genocide" and protest outside the embassies of what she calls Israel's "five major supporters."

“Don’t just come to this dinner. Be visible in support of the people of Palestine,” she said.

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