Constructive solutions key to resolving impasse
IT WAS painful to watch videos of Palestinians celebrating the brutal death of a young South African man, Eliyahu David Kay, 26, who was killed in a terror attack in Jerusalem recently. The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) said that Kay was a tour guide in Jerusalem and was killed by a Palestinian gunman while on his way to pray at the Western Wall (Kotel). Incredibly, Hamas alleges that Kay was an Afrikaner who came from South Africa to Palestine as a “coloniser”. It is Hamas’ actions that cause Israel, the EU, and the US to regard it as a terrorist group. Although the UK previously had a “no contact policy” with Hamas, they are considering declaring Hamas a terrorist group. It is very likely that in a debate that will take place tomorrow, the UK will formally end any possible relations with Hamas and that of its political wing. The UK’s Home Secretary, Pritti Patel, said: “Hamas has significant terrorist capability, including access to extensive and sophisticated weaponry as well as terrorist training facilities, and it has long been involved in significant terrorist violence.” Despite its citizens being caught up in a bloody terror attack that left one person dead and three people injured, South Africa’s silence since the incident occurred is puzzling, to say the least. By keeping a stony silence, Pretoria seems to be condoning terrorism as long as it comes from the Palestinians, whom they see as their “brothers”. Like with any other country, South Africa’s foreign political stance vis a vis Israel and Palestine is influenced by the history of the liberation movement in South Africa. As the ANC sees the Palestinians as being oppressed, they side with Palestine, even when they blatantly murder innocent people. This leads one to question whether they are a government in power of the entire country or whether they are still behaving as a freedom organisation with a very limited world view. Our government becomes hysterical about a young girl following her dream, but is not saying a word about a South African Jew killed by terrorists. Surely there is something wrong with this picture. If the Government’s Department of Arts and Culture was able to withdraw its support for Miss SA for refusing to boycott Miss Universe because it’s held in Israel, then it should be easy for the same government to speak out against a terror group that killed a South African citizen. Why do countries like the UK show concern about the killing of an innocent person while, South Africa seemingly does not? The ANC-led government will not publicly denounce but will rather publicly support the barbaric actions of Hamas, irrespective of what it does. Other countries and organisations throughout the world will continue to proscribe the Palestinian militant group because they are the same as terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda or Boko Haram, with the same modus operandi. From the ululation and celebration seen on the video after the brutal killing of Kay, it is clear that there are quite a large number of people who claim to speak on behalf of Palestinians who are not pro-peace. In fact, these people are bent on the extermination of all Israelis, and is this what our government silently applauds? We should be pragmatic, constructive, and even-handed and look for more practical solutions to the Israel-Palestine political impasse. Killing, injuring, hurting, or insulting one another will never solve this quagmire that we are facing today. Killing innocent people cannot be tolerated anymore. There are other and better ways to confront problems in the Middle East, and one may be by means of creating and sustaining a two-state solution. That is one way to achieve a peaceful solution, which is the last thing that Hamas, or by implication, the South African government, want. One wonders what message this sends to the Jewish population living in South Africa and contributing to its welfare. Clearly, not a very good one. South Africa has a chance to reset and review its Israel-Palestine bias. Our country should be working with genuine human rights activists and pro-peace activists from both states, rather than working with people who are intent on Israel’s destruction. Ultimately, Israel is not going anywhere. It is time that our government recognises this and starts working towards finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict rather than being part of the problem.