President Cyril Ramaphosa has described Israel is an “apartheid type of state” and has lamented the Jewish state’s use of “terror” against the people of Palestine.
Ramaphosa was in Paris for a summit on the financing of African economies and in an interview with France24’s Marc Perelman, he was asked if Israel was an “apartheid state”.
Ramaphosa responded: “The way they have been carrying on, denying the Palestinians their rights, the way they have been bombing the area, the way they have been unleashing terror, one could quite easily characterise [Israel] as being an apartheid type of state.”
Ramaphosa qualified his answer by saying he had no other way to describe what the Israelis were doing against the Palestinians.
He said the situation and images from Gaza were reminiscent of South Africa’s own history under apartheid.
“The images we’ve been seeing – of people being prevented from moving around, of their homes being destroyed, of people being driven out of their homes before they are bombed, of the Israeli soldiers manhandling people – bring back very terrible memories of our own history under apartheid, when people we’re forcibly moved from their homes.
“This for us, is very close to our own suffering under apartheid. When we see those images, we can’t [help] but side with the Palestinians.
“Our support as a country for the Palestinians is based on principle. Palestinians want their own self-determination rights. They want their own state.
Ramaphosa, however, also stressed that both sides needed to negotiate to find a solution and said South Africa was prepared to assist as an arbitrator, because of South Africa “had gone through a similar situation”.
This is the third time in under a week that Ramaphosa has condemned Israel.
On Monday, Ramaphosa condemned Israel’s actions in Gaza, saying they were violating international law.
“Israel’s actions are a violation of international law. They show a total disregard for successive United Nations Security Council resolutions that call for an end to the occupation of Palestinian land and for the fulfilment of the rights of the Palestinian people,” said Ramaphosa in his weekly letter.
And last week, ahead of the Muslim celebration of Eid-al-Fitr, Ramaphosa said many Muslims across the world could not enjoy the day as it was “marred by hardship, deprivation and violence”.
“We express our collective abhorrence of the violence being perpetrated against the Palestinian people, and reaffirm our solidarity with their struggle for nationhood and self-determination,” Ramaphosa said.