The Democratic Alliance (DA) is trying to take South Africa back to its dark days of apartheid by forging relations with countries like Israel that supported the oppressive regime, so says pro-Palestinian solidarity group Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS).
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Reacting to DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s trip to the Jewish state and Palestine this week – in defiance of President Jacob Zuma’s recent call for citizens to refrain from travelling to Israel – BDS condemned Maimane’s private visit, saying it “speaks volumes” about the party’s respect for human rights.
“It speaks volumes that the DA is trying to take us back to apartheid days by forging relations with countries like Israel and other regimes that backed apartheid,” BDS spokesperson Kwara Kekana said in a statement.
The human rights group said during its discussions with members of parliament in December last year, DA MPs were at the forefront of opposing any forms of boycott against Israel.
“The DA claims to support a peaceful solution but are utterly silent on Israel’s apartheid policies, Israel’s apartheid wall, the political prisoners’ situation, including the over 400 child prisoners, the continued construction of the illegal settlements and the expansion of the settlement industry.”
The official opposition told The Citizen on Thursday that fostering peace was part of what Maimane was in the region to achieve, saying they were looking to bring the “two parties together instead of inflaming tensions between them”.
However, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) wasn’t impressed with Maimane’s visit either. The party’s spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa, said the trip confirmed its suspicion that the DA supported the policies of Israel, and undermined its stated support for self-determination for the Palestinian people.
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“At a time when the world is increasingly standing up against Israel’s illegal settlements, including the United Nations Security Council, it is a pity that the DA is endorsing the Israeli regime instead of condemning its violations of international law,” he said.
Kodwa challenged the DA to denounce Israel publicly for inflicting “apartheid” on the Palestinian people, in order to prove that it indeed held the same views as the ANC.
The DA’s official position on the Palestine-Israel question is that it supports a two-state solution and peaceful coexistence with Jerusalem as the shared capital. It has also described visits to the region by party leaders as fact-finding missions.
At the weekend during the ANC’s 105th anniversary celebrations in Soweto, Zuma reiterated the party’s support for the Palestinian demand for self-determination and discouraged South Africans from travelling to Israel.