Friday, September 1

A Visit to South Africa and Attitudes to the Lebanese War

(Owing to a family visit to Cape Town, South Africa during August 2006, my blog slipped into dormancy for a few weeks. Now that I have returned, I hope to resuscitate it once again.)

While I was in Cape Town, I did manage to speak to a few people, black as well as white, about attitudes towards the Palestinian-Israeli-Lebanese Problem. A friend of mine organized a group visit to the SA Parliament on 17 August when MPs discussed the passing of a resolution condemning Israel for the Lebanese War.

Cape Town (where I was born and educated) is a very vibrant city. The amazing character of its people and the total absence of apartheid are incredible. It is a very different South Africa to the one I remembered. There is a feeling of reconciliation between the various races as they are all fraternizing and mixing socially. The draconic laws of apartheid are no more and there is a sense of confidence in the future. This does not mean that there are no problems. Crime is rampant and wherever one goes, there are many beggars and homeless. The authorities cannot keep pace with the increasing housing problems. Shantytowns such as Crossroads and Kayalitcha stretch for many kilometers giving us a reminder that there remains much work to be done in providing housing for a large economically deprived population.  Parking attendants, official and otherwise, appear from nowhere the moment you park your car and promise to look after your vehicle for the duration of parking (for a fee of course). The AIDS epidemic remains a great problem and the ANC attitude towards solving this crisis is inadequate. Many say that the blacks have won their freedom but many are losing to AIDS.
The debate in the SA Parliament on passing an anti-Israel resolution condemning Israel for its actions in Lebanon was poor and irrelevant. At least that was the feeling that many of us had. The knowledge of many of the MPs on the Middle East was scanty and many statements made showed this very clearly. One ANC Member of Parliament dropped a mini-bombshell of untruths. He stated that the Palestinians fired rockets into southern Israel from Gaza because the Israeli Army had kidnapped a Palestinian medical doctor and his son. This was a form of retaliation. That incident was not reported anywhere and nobody was able to verify where the Honorable Member of Parliament received this information!  The ruling ANC (African National Congress) has many Muslim members who are anti-Israel and this does introduce a total lack of proportion in the debate. One could sum up the debate as being a mixture of naivety, irrelevance and half-truths. There were no cabinet members present, which could be an indication that this resolution was not considered important enough to warrant their presence. Here are the minutes of the proceedings and I quote:
10. [15:40] The Chief Whip of the Majority Party moved: That the House -
(1) noting -
(a) with grave concern the developments in the Middle East;
(b) Israel's collective punishment of both the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples;
(c)  the disproportionate response of Israel and the use of military force against civilian targets, resulting in hundreds of deaths and injuries, mainly of women, children and the elderly, the massive destruction of vital life-supporting infrastructure, and the displacement of over a million people;
(d) the catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Gaza and Lebanon, for which Israel's aggression is responsible;
(e) the anger and concerns of many sectors of our people - including political parties, trade unions and religious leaders; and
(f)  the commencement of a UN mandated ceasefire on Monday, 14 August 2006;
(2) believing –
(a) that the threat of a regional war might become a reality, which will seriously endanger regional and international peace and security;
(b) that the actions of Israel are against international law and the Geneva Convention;
(c) that the Palestinian people have the right to self-determination and independence in the State of Palestine and that the State of Israel has the right to exist alongside the State of Palestine, within secure borders; and
(d) that a negotiated final status agreement would best serve the peoples of Israel, Palestine and Lebanon, and more generally the cause for peace and security in the region; and
(3) resolves -
(a)  to call upon all parties to desist from any actions which may exacerbate the conflict;
(b) to call for the maintenance of a ceasefire by all sides;
(c) to call for a negotiated solution of the Israeli, Palestinian and Lebanese prisoner issue;
(d) to call upon the UN Security Council to discharge its responsibilities and act with urgency to enforce and maintain the full cessation of hostilities and Israel’s withdrawal of its troops at the earliest;
(e) to call upon the UN, on the basis of various UN resolutions, to seek a peaceful comprehensive solution; and
(f) to call upon the international community and the South African government and people to respond to the catastrophic humanitarian tragedy in the region.
  The Chief Whip of the Opposition moved as an amendment: To omit all the words after “That the House -” and to substitute with the following:
(1) noting -
(a) with grave concern the recent developments in the Middle East;
(b) the devastating loss of life of both the people of Lebanon and Israel;
(c)  the support of Hezbollah and its terrorist activities by Syria and Iran;
(d) the right of self-determination for the people of Palestine and the sovereign right to self-defence of Israel;
(e) that South Africa’s official foreign policy in the Middle East is the acceptance of a two-state solution and that any attempt to abandon this position will undermine our international credibility; and
(f) the commencement of a UN mandated ceasefire on Monday, 14 August 2006;
(2) resolves that -
(a)  both sides must desist from any actions which may exacerbate the conflict;
(b) Hezbollah must disarm in line with UN Resolution 1559 and Israel must withdraw its troops from southern Lebanon once this has been achieved;
(c) Syria and Iran must be condemned for financing, arming and inspiring the conflict;
(d) a lasting two-state solution must be respected by all parties in the region;
(e) the UN Security Council act with urgency to enforce and maintain the full cessation of hostilities by both sides; and
(f) the South African government must focus more on the immediate humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, rather than a conflict over which it has little or no influence. 
Mr M B Skosana moved as amendments to the motion of the Chief Whip of the Majority Party:
      In paragraph (1), to omit subparagraphs (b), (c) and (d); and
      In paragraph (2)(b), to omit “Israel“ and to substitute “the belligerent parties”.
  At the request of the Chief Whip of the Majority Party, House Chairperson Ms C-S Botha interrupted the debate.
11. The House adjourned at 17:15.
Towards the end of the debate, there was an attempt to give a sense of balance to the resolution by an attempt to omit paragraphs that referred to “Israel” as the aggressor and substitute the phrase “the belligerent parties” instead. However, there was no mention of the reason why Israel entered Lebanon nor were there any mention of the Katyusha rockets that Hezbollah fired into Israel and the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers patrolling within Israel’s borders. The debate was adjourned and at the time of my departure from South Africa to Israel, no date was set to continue this rather strange and biased debate. No vote was taken on this resolution. Had a vote been taken, the resolution would have been passed overwhelmingly. Many members kept on referring to the South African example of reconciliation that could form the basis of a settlement between Israel, Palestinians and the Lebanese.  
The salient difference between the South African situation and the Middle East is that all South Africans, irrespective of their race, colour or creed, had a common desire to solve their race problems by ending apartheid and live together in a multiracial South Africa on a basis of total racial equality. In the Middle East, the Palestinian Hamas regime and the Lebanese Hezbollah – the proxy of Iran – have a common desire to destroy Israel and never negotiate Israel’s right to exist. How can there ever be peace in the Middle East when these attitudes still prevail?
I had spoken to some Black and Colored Christian clergy who show understanding of Israel’s existential problems with her Palestinian neighbours. Many have even pledged their support for Israel and told me that they pray for peace in Israel and her Arab neighbours. Some did mention that there was a lack of information from the Israeli side, which leaves the field open for much fundamentalist Islamist propaganda that justifies terrorist acts against Israel’s citizens.
Much work needs to be done in South Africa to counteract the hostile propaganda against Israel. The public relations work to increase understanding of Israel’s existential problems in South Africa is inadequate according to my experience in discussions with people of all races.


Anonymous said...

End of paragraph 2 about the cabinet ministers in attendance. It would be more correct to say that the sponsoring and ruling party, the ANC, sparsely attended the debate and at times no cabinet ministers attended the debate. There was one brief occasion when there were three. I would also say that the non-attendance of the other ministers was Machiavellian in that it allowed a hate-fest against Israel, appealed to the local Muslims and the ANC's constituency in the Western Cape, which is the only province where they do not hold a majority in real terms. Attacking Israel is cheap as it shows the ANC's attitude with no repercussions for them. They are fond of trying to make out that the government is different from the ANC. Absolute bullshit!

The ANC's diatribe against Israel continues in other formats as yesterday the Cape Argus published a particularly shallow attack on Israel and the Board of Deputies by two women ( who do not have the background or knowledge to write what they did. They are both so-called economists involved with gender and trade. From what I read about them via Google, they are well ensconced in bull shitty pseudo important sounding bodies that amount to nothing. There are many people who make a career in these areas and South Africa has promoted much of this nonsense. I suspect that they may not have even written the rubbish, but lent their names to it and were probably put up to it by the likes of Aziz Pahad, the deputy minister of foreign affairs who is always playing a double game and in reality does not have two neurons that spark simultaneously. The alleged authors are Mohau Pheko and Mariama Williams. The latter I suspect is a Jamaican and in spite of the fancy sounding pedigrees, has neither knowledge nor background to enter the fray. Unfortunately, the Argus restricts access to subscribers on their web site. Nevertheless, you will get the idea from the title of the article and the accompanying photo of damage in Beirut.

Continuing, the attempts to change the wording of the resolution was by members of the opposition, not the ANC. I suspect the ANC in the person of Aziz Pahad, knew all along they would not try to pass the resolution, but encouraged the "debate" for their own ends.

In addition to your thesis about the desire to find a solution to South Africa's problems when the settlement came, you must take into account that the blacks had been Christians for at least three hundred years and therefore there was no religious difference between them and the whites, only race.

Finally, the Muslims in South Africa, as elsewhere, are hugely financed and have set up propaganda machinery in the form of radio stations, newspapers and media groups who constantly inundate the media with their propaganda. The Jewish community is particularly small, limited resources if any at all also have huge problems being heard as all the media newsrooms are today populated and infiltrated by Muslims "trained" by the bodies I referred to above. This is not a theory. Radio 786 in Cape Town has actually boasted about doing this on their web site.


Anonymous said...

Western Liberal Democracy is under threat everywhere. No more can multiculturism and relativism prevail. Israel carries the flag for us all, supported by our cousins the Americans. The ANC are a confederacy of harvesters, a broad-based coalition seeing to the enrichment of a few: anti-democratic, venal, arrogant, feeding on the white guilt and long steeped traditions of tolerance and humanity. It is not a pretty sight.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, I am filled with pessimism upon reading your
post. I feel that every Jew, both within South Africa and outside, who supported the end of the Apartheid regime has been betrayed by its Black victims.

How well I recall the efforts of Jewish antiApartheid activists of the sixties, seventies and eighties to assist in disassembling that
atrocious social and political system. The coffers of Arab countries seem filled with a never ending supply of capital with which to purchase favorable resolutions on behalf of a people who strap explosives onto their children so that in the process of their suicides, they can murder their neighbors' children.

I shall spend what is left of my life resisting any attempt of the US Government to provide any relief to the hateful social and political structure of modern South Africa. I honestly believe they are enemies of the Jewish people and cannot be our friends.

lars said...
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