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South Africa Seeks to Declare Israel Apartheid State

South Africa Seeks to Declare Israel Apartheid State

South Africa is pushing the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to declare Israel an apartheid state.

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor said, “South Africa will directly petition the ICJ to give an advisory opinion on the legal consequences arising from the ongoing violation by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination from its prolonged occupation, settlement, and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.”

According to South African officials, Israel’s occupation of “significant portions of the West Bank” and the continued development of illegal settlements “are glaring examples of violations of international law,” as the war to root out Hamas operatives in Gaza continues.

Apartheid refers to the implementation and maintenance of a system of legalized segregation where one racial group is deprived of political and civil rights.

Apartheid is barred under international law, considered a crime against humanity, and includes (but is not limited to) the prohibition of mixed marriages, banning a specific racial or ethnic group from access to certain meetings and unions, and the restriction of movement, which prohibits access to certain public spaces. 

Citing “Israel’s intent to create and maintain a system of oppression and domination over Palestinians and examined its key components: territorial fragmentation; segregation and control; dispossession of land and property; and denial of economic and social rights,” Amnesty International says it meets the definition of an apartheid state.

“The Palestinian narrative evokes experiences of South Africa’s own history of racial segregation and oppression,” Pandor said during a meeting with Palestinian Heads of Mission in Africa.

“As oppressed South Africans, we experienced firsthand the effects of racial inequality, discrimination and denial and we cannot stand by while another generation of Palestinians are left behind,” she added. “If there is any country or countries that can comprehend the suffering and the struggle for freedom and independence of Palestine, it is the African continent and the people of Africa.”

During a Nov. 21 virtual meeting of BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), South African President Cyril Ramaphosa accused Israel of genocide.

"The collective punishment of Palestinian civilians through the unlawful use of force by Israel is a war crime. The deliberate denial of medicine, fuel, food, and water to the residents of Gaza is tantamount to genocide," Ramaphosa said in reference to Israel’s response to a deadly terrorist attack carried out by Hamas on Oct. 7.

Ramaphosa called for an “immediate and comprehensive ceasefire” and the deployment of a United Nations force to monitor the Gaza region.

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