South African Deputy IR Minister: Don’t go to Israel
Don’t go to Israel – This was the call by deputy international relations minister Ebrahim Ebrahim this week.
Ebrahim told City Press he is “discouraging” South Africans from visiting the Middle Eastern state.
“Israel is an occupier country which is oppressing Palestine, so it is not proper for South Africans to associate with Israel,” Ebrahim said.
“We discourage people from going there except if it has to do with the peace process.”
Ebrahim denied this was a further step to a complete boycott of Israel – something the country’s pro-Palestinian lobby wants.
But his comments come after the recent release of a memorandum from the department of trade and industry which said that goods from the contested West Bank should be labelled as such.
This is because the West Bank is considered by many to be an occupied territory that rightfully belongs to Palestine.
This was met with outrage by the Jewish business community in South Africa. They say Israel would refuse to label such products and, as such, exports to South Africa would simply stop.
Just this week, a planned trip to Israel by KwaZulu-Natal mayors and officials was called off because of pressure from the pro-Palestine lobby.
Ebrahim told City Press South Africa should “scale down” its economic ties with Israel, but there was no need for a complete breakdown of relations.
South Africa maintains formal diplomatic ties with Israel, and has an ambassador in the Israeli capital of Tel Aviv.