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South Africa's President: "Don't visit Israel"

News   •   Jan 09, 2017 12:29 GMT

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma. PHOTO: Reuters

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma is calling on South Africans not to visit Israel in order to show solidarity with “the people of Palestine”, the Africa News website reported Sunday.

Zuma’s comments came at the 105th anniversary celebration of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), during which he reiterated the party’s solidarity with the “oppressed people of the world”, citing “Palestine” as an example.

“The people of Palestine continue to suffer in their rightful quest for self-determination … We reiterate that we firmly discourage travel to Israel for causes not related to fostering peace in the region,” Zuma was quoted as having said in a speech heard by thousands of party supporters.

Zuma also said his party supported of UN Resolution 2334, which was passed last month by the Security Council and which condemned Israeli presence in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. He called on the Palestinian people to unite and achieve their goal, according to Africa News.

Zuma and other members of his party have continuously expressed anti-Israel sentiments in recent years.

The government in South Africa has frequently accused Israel of applying a policy of “apartheid” towards Palestinian Arabs. One such was when the ANC party proposed new rules regarding dual citizenship meant to stop South African citizens from joining the IDF.

South Africa's Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein issued a stinging response to the proposed rules, calling out the ANC party on its hypocritical and "obsessive" stance vis-a-vis the State of Israel.

South Africa has also imposed rules requiring that goods imported from Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem display special labels.

In another example, the county’s Foreign Minister slammed Israel's plans to build new homes in Jerusalem, saying she was “losing sleep” over the size of “Palestine”.

Zuma’s party has in the past compared Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza to the actions of the Nazis during World War II, evoking outrage from Jewish groups in the country.

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