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MIDDLE EAST CRISIS

Gift of the Givers backs motion seeking closure of Israeli embassy following Gaza office head killing

Gift of the Givers backs motion seeking closure of Israeli embassy following Gaza office head killing
Ahmed Abbasi, described as 'a kind, gentle, warm human being' was killed in Gaza whilst returning from morning prayers on 16 November, 2023. Abbasi, a father of three, was responsible for implementing multiple projects including the care of orphans, widows, elderly and the ill. His brother was also killed. (Photo: Gift of the Givers)

The humanitarian organisation expressed its support for a planned EFF motion before Parliament on Thursday afternoon to sever diplomatic ties with Israel and shutter its SA embassy following the death of Ahmed Abbasi.

Ahmed Abbasi, the Gift of the Givers office head in Gaza, was killed in a rocket strike on Thursday, 16 November, as he and his brother returned from morning prayers. 

Abbasi’s brother was also killed in the attack, said the humanitarian organisation, but no further information was available immediately. 

The organisation made the announcement as Parliament prepares to hear a motion from the Economic Freedom Fighters to close the Israeli Embassy in South Africa — which has the support of the majority ANC. 

According to the organisation’s founder Imtiaz Sooliman, Abbasi was killed on Thursday morning after he and his brother returned from morning prayers in Gaza.

According to Sooliman, Abbasi had been “directly targeted by the apartheid Israeli forces in Gaza”.

The organisation’s Middle East head, Dr Malik M Abou-Rageila , claimed a bit later that Abbasi had been “targeted with a rocket” fired by the Israel Defence Force, and that his body parts were scattered in pieces.

The father of three has been described as a “kind, gentle, warm human being”. Sooliman said he was responsible for implementing multiple projects, including the care for orphans, widows, the elderly and the ill. “He delivered water through our desalination plants, distributed food parcels, provided hot meals and upgraded damaged homes,” said Sooliman in a statement on Thursday morning.

“We also fully support the motion in Parliament today for the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador with immediate effect and the severing of diplomatic ties with the Apartheid State of Israel,” read the statement. 

ANC supports parliamentary motion 

The ANC has further accelerated its efforts to show support to those caught in the conflict of the Israel-Palestine war. This time around the party will be voting for the parliamentary motion which calls upon the government to close the Israel Embassy in South Africa and suspend all diplomatic relations with Israel. 

The motion also agrees to a ceasefire and commits to binding United Nations-facilitated negotiations, the outcome of which must be a just, sustainable and lasting peace.

“The African National Congress welcomes the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that our government has put through a referral to the International Criminal Court. We cannot sit back and watch the genocidal actions of the Israeli regime. President Ramaphosa has stated clearly that the ANC-led government as well as the ANC does not condone any form of violence directed at citizens. We welcome the fact that in this intervention South Africa is not alone, it has the support of other nations,” a statement by the party reads.

Read more in Daily Maverick: SA recalls diplomats in Tel Aviv over ‘untenable’ situation with Israeli ambassador

Daily Maverick understands the party’s National Working Committee had discussed the possibility of severing diplomatic ties with Israel during a meeting on Monday. However, President Cyril Ramaphosa informed them that the International Relations Department should look into the matter.

This move follows an announcement by Ramaphosa that South Africa would have referred the Israeli government to be investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigation of the country’s role in the Middle Eastern war. 

The ANC has welcomed this decision saying that they could not “sit back” and watch the “genocidal actions” of the Israeli regime. 

“We reiterate our call for a cease-fire for humanitarian corridors to be fully operational,” said the ANC in its statement. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: South Africa’s offer to mediate in Israel must not be ignored — remember Northern Ireland

EFF leader Julius Malema will lead the motion that Israel’s actions have amounted to genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian people.

‘The people of Palestine have been subject to denial of healthcare, denial of humanitarian aid, freedom of movement and freedom of religious expression, due to the intolerance of a cruel Israeli regime which is determined to continue with its colonial expansion and annexation of Palestinian land. South Africa, which shares this common history of colonial domination and Apartheid with Palestine, cannot justify its continued diplomatic relations with Israel, and for this reason, the EFF calls for the closure of their embassy,” the red berets said in a statement.

SAJBD weighs in

The ANC met with the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) on Monday for a discussion about the Israel-Hamas war.

Speaking to Daily Maverick, national chairperson of the SAJBD Karen Milner said talks were cordial between the two parties. However, she did indicate that there was no conversation about the possibility of severing diplomatic ties with Israel. 

“From our side, there is a need for the ambassador [Eliav Belotserkovsky] and the diplomatic relations between SA and Israel should be functional in order for South Africa to play a meaningful role in the peace deal. There was certainly no indication from any side that there was an imminent breaking of diplomatic ties,” she said.

Belotserkovsky is already in hot water and was demarched last week over statements he made about support in South Africa for Palestinians.

Read more in Daily Maverick: All for Gaza ceasefire, but EFF motion to cut ties with Israel may be a step too far for ANC

The South African government called upon Belotserkovsky to conduct himself in line with the Vienna Conventions.

Milner explained that there was very little conversation about involving the ICC at the meeting with the ANC but instead looked at how the Jewish community in South Africa has been affected by the war.

“We mostly covered the view by the Jewish community that as a result of the lack of statements made by the ANC after the October 7 massacre, we also dealt with the rising anti-Semitism levels in South Africa and the need to bring the temperature down on the rhetoric and the threats that are been made at the rallies and the high level of emotionality at rallies and ANC statements.

“We did talk quite widely about the prospects of peace in the Middle East and the need for both sides to engage. We agreed we would try to engage further,” Milner stated.

According to Al Jazeera, the Palestinian death toll in Gaza has risen to more than 11,200 killed in Israeli attacks since October 7. In Israel, the official death toll from Hamas’ attacks stands at more than 1,200. DM

This story has been updated to reflect that Gift of the Givers officials said Ahmed Abbasi was killed in a rocket strike rather than shot.

This is a developing story and may be updated.

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • James Francis says:

    This is a big tragedy and I’m sorry for GOTG’s loss. But to back the ANC state’s two-faced morals, one that bends over backwards to accommodate the genocidal Russians and helps supply the arms that Saudi Arabia funnels into the Yemen conflict, that is a mistake.

    The ANC is amoral and opportunistic. I wonder, if a GOTG member was killed in Ukraine, how things would have played out? Is GOTG fine with the knowledge that the SA state would have unambiguously backed the killers? Does it really want to tarnish its reputation by associating itself with the ANC’s cheap point-scoring at the expense of human tragedies?

    • Vusi Dladla says:

      They can be anything but opportunistic on this issue. They have long called for withdrawal of Israel from occupied territories. Mandela called for free Palestine long ago.

      • Samuel Ginsberg says:

        He also called for Israel’s borders to be secure. That means but having Hamas come and murder and rape.

      • James Francis says:

        That’s my point. Why won’t the ANC extend the same compassion for the Palestinians to the Ukrainians? Why does Russia get a free pass for its atrocities? Why are we not punishing Russia with the same passion as punishing Israel?

      • Pieter van de Venter says:

        And Hamas refused to agree to any settlement. Al they want is the destruction of Israel.

        • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

          And Israel has always wanted the destruction of Palestine although being the human that i am i cannot stop my sad feeling for the innocent Israel civillians and Palestians victims may their souls rest in peace Apartheid Israel deserves all the horrors together with their western handlers who created a state for them because they could not stay with them in Europe, do you know they wanted to get a state for them in Uganda at some point unfortunately for the Palestinians the colonial masters chose their land and that was the last time they saw peace

  • Vic Mash says:

    A noble gesture indeed. where are those voices from DM readers who uttered insults to the countries leaders when Russia invaded Ukraine? the country was urged to arrest the Russian leader for war crimes, but now, they are silent, why?

  • Alexis Kriel says:

    Ahmed Abbasi’s death is a shocking tragedy. It doesn’t say who has taken responsibility. Can this be clarified please.

    • Rod H MacLeod says:

      Check the footnote to this article:

      “This story has been updated to reflect that Gift of the Givers officials said Ahmed Abbasi was killed in a rocket strike rather than shot.

      This is a developing story and may be updated.”

      Problem is, by the time any retraction or “update” is made, the damage is done. For example, most of those who read the original version of this story remain under the impression he was shot to death by the IDF. The story is now he was killed by rocket fire – but whose rocket remains a mystery.

      Watch this space.

      • Audrey Smith says:

        The Gift of the Givers mandate was to help ALL in need regardless of their religion. Calling out sides is no matter the reason surely bends this mandate because it was one of their own. God has no favourites
        🙏😓

      • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

        If you declare a war to the world you take full responsibility of all deaths that occur during your war, Israel must take full responsibility same goes for Hamas, when they started this in early october they knew there will be a response to me its difficult to separate the two and if you count innocent casualties Israel is committing the worst terror, we gauge that against innocent people who dont deserve to die

  • Terry Levin says:

    The article does not say who killed them, though

  • Bill Nash says:

    This is tragic and my heart goes out to the families and to the Gift of the Givers in South Africa.
    Another tragedy in this Middle East crisis.

  • Daniel Steyn says:

    Heartbreaking.

  • Jaqueline Perkes says:

    Heartbreaking nonsensical war going nowhere except to death and destruction. Long Life to all Ahmed’s family, friends, colleagues and the conscious people who seek ceasefire and end to this terrible blight.

  • Mohsin Wadee says:

    Sanctions against Israel NOW.

  • Penny Philip says:

    Such a tragedy! And the latest figures for civilian deaths in Gaza is now over 10,000 . How does the US keep sending arms to Israel but won’t use their power to force Israel back to the peace negotiation table? And all this is doing (aside from the humanitarian tragedy) is breed more & more generations of embittered & violent people.

    • Samuel Ginsberg says:

      Israel has been to the negotiating table numerous times. They have offered full statehood multiple times and they unilaterally left Gaza. What more do you want them to do?

    • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

      Jewish perspective focusses on number of lives saved, not the death tallies that are being kept score. If Israel didn’t care about Palestinian civilians, it wouldn’t (and needn’t) have sacrificed a single soldier and could have handled this by air and drone on October 8. BTW did you know that there were 4,2 million German deaths in WW2, and “only” 320,000 Allies?

  • Thea Clifford Jackson says:

    Sadly, neither the ANC nor its kindergarten can claim the moral high ground when political assassinations, nepotism and corruption are rife within their ranks, affecting all South Africans daily. Secondly, the ANC continues to support those whose financial and material support they enjoyed and relied on during the struggle without considering the outmoded ideologies these benefactors now reflect. It’s also disappointing that GotG, which does such phenomenal work, is taking an ideological position.
    Having said all that, Israel is treading in dangerous territory and needs some kind of sanction.

  • Shaun Slayer says:

    Noa Tishby says it like it is on Fox News. The world’s journalists are spreading propoganda and it must stop. foxnews/video/6340530411112

  • batting 101 Captain says:

    The hypocrites are rising day by day, the call for peace will never be over. Israel will defend its land and its people, a country with a backbone.

    • Fuad XXX says:

      Israel defends its land & people… WOW…. No Israel is not – It is stealing land & slaughtering the indigenous people.

    • Fuad XXX says:

      Many times I have said it – Israeli apartheid equals South African Apartheid on steroids. Israelis are targeting exceptional leaders because they have no other way of
      winning against them. Remember Steve Biko and Imam Haroun to name two and then there are the thousands of others who were killed without real reason & still SA apartheid lost

      • Theresa Avenant says:

        I agree, Fuad XXX

      • Samuel Ginsberg says:

        Then why are Arabs and people of Islamic belief in the Israeli parliament?

      • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

        Love that name Fuad XXX! Where can I find your movies?

        The real tragedy is that South Africa has allowed the legacy of genuine apartheid to be misappropriated for a cause that couldn’t be further away from it.

        Wishing a long life to this guy’s family. If you go into a warzone, unfortunately you risk getting yourself killed.

      • Ben Harper says:

        What utter nonsense, you have absolutely NO idea what you’re talking about

        • Ed Rybicki says:

          You seem to operate on a hair trigger, “Ben”. You evidently don’t know what you’re talking about?

          • Ben Harper says:

            I obviously know more than you and your mate Faud

          • Enver Klein says:

            But Ben is still not prepared to reveal the sources of his information; so, he sticks to the same narrative, I suspect it would be IDF reports or the PR propaganda machine …

          • John P says:

            Ben’s opinion it seems is all that’s required to create fact

      • Alan Geld says:

        Are you aware that in Israel there are Arab Judges Doctors nurses members of parliament, officers in the IDF and for the most part everyone in Israel, including the Arab people live in harmony.
        There are no restrictions on anyone living anywhere.
        That’s hardly apartheid as I remember it

  • Thea Clifford Jackson says:

    Sadly the ANC & its kindergarten continue to blindly support benefactors from the golden age of the struggle. The moral high ground does not support political assassinations, unrestrained corruption, crime, basic incompetence, cruel injustice and more affecting the daily lives of millions.
    It is also disappointing that a respected and effective charity like GotG expresses political opinions & supports a government which is incapable of providing the necessities that GotG routinely offers. While there is immense sadness at the loss of Mr Abbassi & his brother as well as all other civilian casualties of this conflict, they should stay above the fray.
    As for Israel, it deserves some form of sanction for its actions but cutting diplomatic ties is a hysterical response to a complex situation.
    Where are the sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine?

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      Thea i hope you can take comfort in the fact that God forgives biased views, Israel as an occupying state has a responsibilty to protect the palestinians as they dont have an army to protect them, they could have vetted and removed the civillians, women,children, elderly and sick before taking action against Hamas, unfortunately they kill Palestinians everyday out of hate, how do you plug of electricity for premature babies are they Hamas or maybe its a preventive measure because they will grow to be Hamas, kill them before they grow? if you notice I dont condone What Hamas did, this is ethnic cleansing by RACIST Israel with the support of the west war mongers who advertise their weapons period.

      • Samuel Ginsberg says:

        Don’t have any army? What do you call 30000 armed Hamas fighters?

        • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

          I call them what you just called them or even terrorist sadly they are not a good choice to protect an occupied nation dont you think?perhaps the occupier who controls what they eat, drink, how they live and where they work can just go a step further and protect them instead of killing and maiming them that is even before the fateful october where innocent civillians were killed by Hamas who were allowed by Israel to breed in Gaza knowingly as long as they didnt bother the status quo Israel was prepared to look the other way

      • Ben Harper says:

        Hahahahahaha

  • Caroline de Braganza says:

    My heartfelt condolences to family, friends, Dr Imtiaaz Sooliman and all the wonderful volunteers of Gift of the Givers whose humanitarian work brings comfort to many people here in South Africa and in other countries such as Gaza without fear or favour. You are an example to the world.

  • T'Plana Hath says:

    What is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil, but I surmise that whoever is responsible for this has gazed too long into the abyss – and has now become a monster.

  • Theresa Avenant says:

    I have no words for this shocking tragedy. For Israeli armed forces to stake out and murder members of Gift of the Givers from South Africa is, to say the least, a war crime. For the sake of the Jewish people I know in South Africa (who are not at fault) I have tried to remain neutral and support any solution there is for peace but I now know that there isn’t any. Benjamin Netenyahu will not go back on his word. I now boldly state that my heart goes out to each and every Palestinian who has been affected by the war in Gaza. I stand with all Palestians in this fight. I, for once, agree with Julius Malema on this issue and am heartened by the fact that our President supports the idea of closing the Israeli Embassy in South Africa (although whether he will or not is debatable). I express my sincere condolences to the family of Ahmed Abbas and his brother and the Gift of the Givers for their loss. Well done DM for the speed reporting.

    • Ben Harper says:

      Oh please, what nonsense

    • Denise Smit says:

      Gift of the Givers showing their true colours. They usually stay neutral and negotiate release of hostages – no word about this here. Also no calling out of “actions” on 7 October. Are their help only reserved for non-Jews?

      • Matt Mpakati says:

        I differ slightly with “true colours.” The South African press and some quarters of the population have been desperate to snag the Gift Of the Givers into a political narrative locally. So this was inevitable at a time of emotional vulnerability.
        I believe these institutions should be insulated from any political commentary or undue overpraise for that matter.

    • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

      Teresa who says the IDF “staked out” and “murdered” this man?

      As a member of the SA Jewish community that you are addressing, thank you but we don’t require, nor did we request, anything from you. If you think you are being “bold” (we don’t, we think it rhymes with shmidiotic) – you are welcome to support Julius Malema. Please exercise your democratic right to support him, while he allows you. This tells us all about you that we need to know. Farewell.

    • John P says:

      Theresa whilst I am against the excessive revenge based response of the IDF in Gaza I am afraid that your comment is rich in emotion and empathy but regretfully the “stake out and murder” statement is out of line. At this stage no one knows what really happened to the Abbasi brothers.

  • George (Mike) Berger says:

    The Gift of the Givers (GOTG) is widely respected in South Africa for its charitable work targeting poor communities whose needs are neglected by the ANC. The sceptic may see this as a form of Muslim proselytisation but, if so, it’s benign and welcomed by most South Africans. It’s therefor tragic news that the Gaza head of the GOTG, Ahmed Abassi, and his brother were purportedly shot and killed deliberately by the IDF while returning from prayers. Dr Ineez Sooliman, founder and head of the GOTG, immediately called for the closure of the Israeli Embassy in South Africa. The ANC leapt onto this bandwagon, joining that paragon of political virtue and moderation, the EFF in accusing Israel of genocide and ethnic cleansing. The DM who knows only too well the ANC-EFF political opportunism and cynicism is only too happy to go long with this narrative since it aligns with its own ideological preferences. It doesn’t bother to ask whether the bullets (if that’s what killed the two Gazans) have been positively established as coming from the IDF? They haven’t asked what possible advantage Israel would gain from shooting civilians in cold blood whereas we know precisely what advantage Hamas would derive from such an act? The DM is strangely silent on the obvious political motivation of the ANC in using the Israeli-Hamas conflict to drive a wedge between the DA and the Western Cape Muslim community. It’s a sad day for SA when our politics and journalism drops to this level.

    • George (Mike) Berger says:

      Correction Imtiaz Sooliman, not Ineez. It has been claimed to be a rocket strike, not a bullet. “According to Sooliman, Abbasi had been “directly targeted by the apartheid Israeli forces in Gaza”.
      “The organisation’s Middle East head, Dr Malik M Abou-Rageila , claimed a bit later that Abbasi had been “targeted with a rocket” fired by the Israel Defence Force, and that his body parts were scattered in pieces.” None of this makes sense but it does stoke hatred in South Africa and elsewhere and provides a perfect opportunity to the forces of opportunism and corruption in SA.

    • Lisbeth Scalabrini says:

      “purportedly shot and killed deliberately by the IDF while returning from prayers”
      Check the facts before going public, there is more than enough false news around.

    • Kevin Schaafsma says:

      George, maybe you need to see this in the context of Israel killing two South Africans who were clearly doing humanitarian work in Gaza while wearing South African flags on the jackets. If this was done deliberately that is something the SA Government surely must address at a diplomatic level with Israel.

      • Ben Harper says:

        You obviously have never held a rifle and taken aim at a target, a piddly little flag on a jacket is hardly going to be discernable from a few hundred meters away IF they were even wearing the jackets with the little flag at all

  • Agf Agf says:

    The Gift of the Givers is a Muslim organization so it’s not surprising that they would support the Palestinians. However I believe it is highly undesirable for them to start getting involved in politics in this way. It’s a war zone for heavens sake. In any case who is to say that it was an Israeli rocket? It could just as easily have been a Hamas bomb. Look at the debacle with the so called Israeli rocket which hit the hospital which turned out to be a terrorist rocket fired from nearby and malfunctioned, landing in the car park and exploding. Gift of the Givers stands to jeopardize their donor base which would be a pity as they do good work.

    • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

      Sorry but the cynic in me disagrees. You and me and many others may have admired their work, but their real “donor base” is not, and has never been, us. This tragic event will (unfortunately) be used to raise even more money, which will more than likely be used for less-than-admirable causes.

  • Kevin Schaafsma says:

    If Ahmed Abbasi was targeted by Israel and murdered by it while wearing a South African flag on his jacket that clearly showed him to be a peaceful member of the South African humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers, that is a diabolical act that certainly calls for action against Israel by the South African government. Either Israel is indiscriminately killing people in Gaza and Ahmed’s death was one of those, or Israel deliberately killed Ahmed andhis brother. Either way, there is no possible acceptable explanation for Ahmed’s death. Ahmed and his brother were in Gaza doing humanitarian work!!!

    All South Africans should stand together with Gift of the Givers. It is one of our national treasures and has proven itself many many times over that it will come to the aid of anyone in need no matter who they are. They would, even now, be the first to arrive to give aid and assistance to Jewish folk in need if there was some catastrophe in a Jewish community.

    The folk at Gift of the Givers and Ahmed and his brother are all better people than me. Any South African who tries to explain this away or go on a whatabout rant about Russia/Ukraine should be ashamed of themselves. Israel killed two of our finest people. That is not ok.

    • Samuel Ginsberg says:

      Are you sure that Israel actually killed them? It’s not unlikely that Hamas did it for political mileage.

      • bigbad jon says:

        Exactly. Israel has nothing to gain from the death of GOTG staff. We know Hamas has no problem killing anyone after they wiped out the PLO in Gaza. Hamas are cynical cowards hiding behind civilians and hospitals, knowing the people of Gaza will be their human shields. The IDF is working as expected, Hamas is happy. There is no other way to get rid of Hamas, but don’t forget their leaders in Qatar..

    • Ben Harper says:

      You know for a fact they were wearing their jackets with their tiny little SA flags at the time?

    • Caroline de Braganza says:

      I agree this is not okay. Gift of the Givers IS a national treasure. They came to my aid two years ago when my husband had a stroke and the state health department offered no assistance. GOTG delivered a wheelchair, adult nappies and toiletries to us in a semi-rural area. The kindness and compassion of the driver and her assistant brought light during a very dark time in our lives. I donate to them when I can.

  • ilike homophones says:

    he was described as a kind, gentle, warm human being, almost gay … … …

  • ilike homophones says:

    he was described as a kind, gentle, warm human being, almost guy … … …

  • Rod H MacLeod says:

    I just want to get this straight – Israel is an “apartheid state”? This accusation comes from a lobby that regards 51% of their own people (yes, the women in their society!) as incompetent to vote, incompetent to drive a motor vehicle, incompetent to run a bank account, incompetent to decide how to dress? They call Israel “apartheid”? WTF – we’ve all gone mad if we swallow that crap.

    • JP K says:

      Just to set this straight.

      5 seconds googling later: “Leading Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights groups have said that the totality and severity of the human rights violations against the Palestinian population in the occupied territories, and by some in Israel proper, amount to the crime against humanity of apartheid.”

      Rather than just dismissing this as going mad, how about checking who’s making the accusation (reputable organisations such as Human Rights Watch, B’tselem, Amensty International, UN special rapporteur and even SA’s HSRC) and why they level this claim against Israel rather than relying on your own incorrect intuition?

      The issue on women’s suffrage seems like a whataboutism. Anyway, women gained suffrage in 1996.

      • Rod H MacLeod says:

        Are you seriously suggesting that woman share equal rights with men in Islamic Palestine? And is that just a “whataboutism” or a serious gender discrimination? Does apartheid only refer to race, or can it refer to any other form of discrimination? And if everyone (all reliable sources) once said the sun revolved around a flat earth, did that make it true?

        • JP K says:

          5 seconds googling later:
          The crime of apartheid is defined as “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them”.

          Maybe gender discrimination should be added. But that’s not apartheid as currently defined.

          You said: “This accusation [of Israel practicing Apartheid] comes from a lobby that regards 51% of their own people (yes, the women in their society!) as incompetent to vote, incompetent to drive a motor vehicle, incompetent to run a bank account, incompetent to decide how to dress? ”

          Women in fact do have the right to vote. Women have the right to drive motor vehicles. I don’t know about what is permissible to wear, but it certainly seems you’re getting basic facts wrong. Good for you for being so keen on women’s rights, but that is not the crime under discussion. Hence it’s whataboutism.

          As for people once saying the sun revolved around a flat earth, of course merely saying it doesn’t make it true. Just as you saying “They call Israel “apartheid”? WTF” doesn’t make Israel’s practices not consistent with the crime of Apartheid.

          But it’s simple really. One has to look at the evidence which support those claims. And the human rights organisations reports are researched and supported by evidence. Yours are supported by who knows what. Personal incredulity I guess. Try reading the reports.

      • Ben Harper says:

        Riiiiight and meanwhile Iranian authorities beat women to death for wearing their headscarf the wrong way but Israel is the bad guys?

        • JP K says:

          Was this article about Iranian human rights abuses? I suppose if the apartheid government was accused of committing a crime against humanity, it could, by your reasoning, point to issues in Iran? Riiiight. Thanks for showing us how whataboutism work.

          Anyway, whether you want to call Israel the good guys or the bad guys is up to you. But the country is committing the crime of Aparthied.

          • Ben Harper says:

            Please try and keep up, Hamas and Hezbollah are funded and supported by Iran, their objectives are exactly the same, a radical Muslim Caliphate starting with the whole Middle East then spreading across the world

        • JP K says:

          Oh… I see. So Iran funds Hamas. Therefore, before one can criticise, Israel, one should look at human rights abuses in Iran. Riiight.

          Again. It’s whataboutism. You’re not responding to the initial issue namely that Israel is committing the crime against humanity of apartheid. Besides, it’s not as though Iran is not criticised by the Amnesty International et al. And anyway, it’s not as though Israel didn’t play a role in creating Hamas and the US didn’t play a role in creating the Iran we know today through installation of the Shah and it’s support of Iraq in the war against it. But we’re not talking about any of those things though, understandably people like yourself are rather keen to distract.

          Just to remind you, Rob seemed not to understand how the crime of apartheid works based on his on incredulity when he could just read a report.

  • Peter Oosthuizen says:

    “Israel’s borders” as referred to by Nelson Mandela would not have included the annexed territory that has continued to expand well beyond the borders of the state of Israel. It would not have included settlements in Arab land.

  • Steve Marks says:

    No point in killing the gotg man. Israel does not need that. Anyone that believe the hamas nonsense is psychotic and bigoted. This is a spiritual war. It’s not about land or statehood. It’s about destroying Israel. There was a ceasefire on October 6. There will not be a ceasefire until our hostages are returned. Israel could have ended Gaza on October 8. SA has no role to play in this war. Fix your own country first.

  • Steve Marks says:

    Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. It is Jew free. How can the Gaza be occupied?

    • Devan Pillay says:

      Are you seriously asking this question? Gaza has been widely described as an open air prison, way before 7 Oct. Its citizens have been totally under siege on all sides, with the collaboration of Egypt, and governed by a militant group aided and abetted by the Israeli state, in order to undermine the Palestinian Authority and prevent a two state solution. This is undisputed, and Netanyahu was caught on camera saying this.

      The ignorance revealed by confident commentators here is astounding….

      • Rod H MacLeod says:

        You’re ignorant. Hamas controls Gaza, not the Palestine Authority.

      • Ben Harper says:

        The people of Gaza are being held prisoner by Hamas. Are you trying to say that an Arab Muslim State is cooperating with evil Zionist Israel to subjugate their Muslim brothers? AND you’re saying that Hamas is aided and abetted by Israel, the very same militant group that has been attacking Israel for years? Wow, that’s a new level of conspiracy theory!

        No Sir, none of the neighbouring Arab states want to give refuge to Palestinians as they do not want terrorists in their countries.

        I would hazard to say the ignorance is from your side

        • Louise Wilkins says:

          “none of the neighbouring Arab states want to give refuge to Palestinians as they do not want terrorists in their countries”
          Are you saying that all Palestinians are terrorists?

          • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

            point of correction the Arab states dont want to solve a mess that was created by Israel and the western handlers dont you think?

  • JP K says:

    How is this not a war in Gaza rather than a war between Hamas and Israel? When you see the pictures you see children wounded, buildings blown apart and general destruction of a very densely populated area. Add to that things like blockades and forms of collective punishment and the idea that Israel is targeting Hamas in a conflict like this must surely be part of controlling the narrative. “We’re going in to get the bad terrorists. Everyone else is just collateral damage. Sorry about that. We’re the most moral army in the world don’t you know?”.

    • Ben Harper says:

      So what do you expect Israel to do, sit back and let Hamas kill their people over and over and over again without repercussion?

      • JP K says:

        You’re missing the point. The objective appears to be to flatten Gaza and send a message to anyone who would mess with Israel.

        Framing this as a conflict between Hamas and Israel is a strategy which makes Israel’s actions seem more legitimate. The reality is that it’s a conflict being fought in Gaza and thousands of civilians have been killed already.

        • Enver Klein says:

          JP K, you can’t debate with Ben, his coins have the same face on both sides, he limits his information to what he believes and struggles to see other points of view

          • JP K says:

            Yeah… so it goes.

          • Stephen Paul says:

            OH.! And you and your supporters with your hysterical inflamed accusations don’t ?? This rhetoric I suppose is fertile ground for rational debate for which you are advocating ?? This is hypocrisy to the absurd degree. If a brutal demonic Israel, according to you guys, wished to “flatten Gaza” with no caring for the civilians there it could have done it on October 8 without the loss of life of one soldier. Do you have any idea of the historical and not hysterical context of this conflict ? According to you one day Israelis woke up and said Let’s be cruel to poor Hamas and the people who voted them in after a bloody coup. Do you have any idea of why a security blockade on Gaza was imposed in 2007 after Israelis were completely pulled out in 2005 leaving economic infrastructure with no blockade on Gaza at that time whatsoever. ? Yes of course you do but this does not form part of your professed desire for a “debate”. You de-legitimize a sovereign state right to self-defense.
            You de-legitimize a sovereign state right to exist and belittling what Apartheid really was and the real suffering it caused. Of course you know the difference but this does not form part of your “debate”. The “Whataboutism” chestnut is a cowardly use of a term to avoid your own obvious bigoted hypocrisy and double standards. No, you say,we only talking about Israel. We not interested in anybody else. Hmmmm? When you ready to “debate” I am also open to it. But please no conspiracy theories.

        • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

          JP while I don’t agree with your opinion, and I’m not crazy about who you rely on for the legitimacy of your sources “(reputable organisations such as Human Rights Watch, B’tselem, Amensty International, UN special rapporteur and even SA’s HSRC)”, you’re entitled to your opinion, you aren’t shouting and screaming, and you are engaging in a debate / discussion (or so it seems to me).

          Here’s my point of view:

          Contextually, looking at the State of Israel geo-politically, there is a world of 56 Muslim nations and 103 Christian ones. But there is only one Jewish state, Israel, which constitutes one-quarter of one per cent of the land mass of the Middle East. Israel is the only one of the 193 member nations of the United Nations that has its right to exist regularly challenged, with one state, Iran, and many, many other groups, committed to its destruction. The spillover from this is that since the Holocaust the world has never experienced levels of antisemitism like it is currently. Antisemitism means denying the right of Jews to exist as Jews with the same rights as everyone else. The form this takes today is anti-Zionism. Of course, there is a difference between Zionism and Judaism, and between Jews and Israelis, but this difference does not exist for the new antisemites themselves.

          Israel is not perfect. This is not about what you call “whataboutism”. This is about objectivity, and not losing sight of keeping a perspective. We have seen how fine the world’s tipping point is to wiping out another 6 million, or more of us is.

          • JP K says:

            This is an important point: you cannot appreciate my sources because of the conclusions they make regarding Israel. They are credible and it’s necessasry for Israel apologists to smear these organisations rather than deal with their unconfortable findings.

            On anti-semitism, here’s what Finkelstein had to say: ” Imagine the bemused reaction were a historian to hypothesize that the impetus behind Native American resistance was “anti-Christianism” or “antiEuropeanism.” What’s the point of such exotic explanations—unless the obvious one is politically incorrect? … Of course, back then, profound explanations of this sort weren’t necessary. The natives impeded the wheel of progress, so they had to be extirpated; nothing more had to be said … [however with Palestine] all manner of elaborate explanation has to be contrived in order to evade the obvious”

            On anti-semitism. Finkelsetin again: “Whenever Israel comes under renewed international pressure to withdraw from occupied territories, its apologists mount yet another meticulously orchestrated media extravaganza alleging that the world is awash in anti-Semitism. This shameless exploitation of anti-Semitism delegitimizes criticism of Israel, makes Jews rather than Palestinians the victims, and puts the onus on the Arab world to rid itself of anti-Semitism rather than on Israel to rid itself of the Occupied Territories”

            I’m not sure what a perfect state is, but Israel was birthed through genocide and practices Apartheid.

    • JP K says:

      @Stephen Paul. According to two Israeli ministers: “We are now rolling out the Gaza Nakba… Gaza Nakba 2023. That’s how it’ll end” and when asked about a nuclear option one replied “that’s one way”. These are consistent with what we are witnessing.

      Israel could just have bombed Gaza more than it already has, but let’s be serious. Any fig leaf of complying with international law would go out the window. It would be very hard to justify such actions politically or morally.

      Whataboutism is a strategy used to deflect. Bringing up Iran or gender issues had nothing to do with the issue of Israel practicing the crime against humanity of Apartheid. You may feel that this deligitimises Apartheid as was practiced in South Africa, but then it seems you have a problem with international law.

      You’re right to want to bring up history and context. That context is the decades long practice of ethnic cleansing, oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian people. You can talk about peace processes that Palestians rejected or the Hamas charter etc. But the context remains one of an occupying force oppressing a population.

      So call Israel’s actions what you will, but there are international laws which govern the actions of countries. Proportionality is one of them even when supposedly a country is acting in self defense. When literally thousands of children are being blown apart, tends of thousands displaced that’s probably an indication that there’s some disproportional response

      • Stephen Paul says:

        “Flatten Gaza” These are your words not mine. What do you think that means ?
        “Ethnic cleansing”, “genocide”, “apartheid” Do you know what these words actually mean other than to employ inflammatory rhetoric to suit your agenda. Words have power and are weaponized as vicious propaganda distorted from their real definition. If the brutal Israelis were out to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians they have been very bad at it. If you want to see what ethnic cleansing really looks like , look no further than the Uyghur People in China. But you don’t do you ? That is not whataboutism. It is education. From whom and where do you get this definition you cite of Apartheid? Apartheid was a statutory system of pure race discrimination based on legislation. It is fantasy to say that in Israel it is one racial group dominating and oppressing another race as Israeli Jews are composed of different races. Israel can be criticized for inequalities, as many Israelis themselves do. At the risk of being accused of whataboutism, this is hardly unique in the world and no other country is libeled an apartheid state. There is nothing racist about Israel’s security measures. There is no legislation about race. Apartheid was only about race. International law? Geneva Convention permits an army to stay in a hostile territory as long as necessary. Proportionality? You blindly accepting Hamas figures. One child killed is too many but I would invite you to look up the legal definition.

  • jason du toit says:

    israel and russia both should have their embassies closed.

    • Ben Harper says:

      Israel reacted from an unprovoked despicable terrorist attack from Hama – Russia carried out an unprovoked despicable terrorist attack on Ukraine, how are the two even comparable?

  • Mohsin Wadee says:

    One more manifestation of apartheid and fascist Israel. And they’ve offered no proof of Hamas operations beneath the Al-Shifa hospital which the IDF has destroyed.

    SANCTIONS AGAINST ISRAEL NOW! SUPPORT BDS!

    • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

      Thanks for the capital letters. We can hear you shouting.

      Only every single credible news organisation (CNN, Reuters, Sky, Bloomberg, etc) have been running with the proof of Hamas operations beneath the Al-Shifa hospital (not Al Jazeera for some strange reason, oh yeah – I said credible?).

      As for the “no proof”- that would be you comment about the Al-Shifa hospital having been “destroyed”. It is currently fully functional, thanks to the IDF. Has that ever happened in enemy territory, in any conflict war zone, at any time in history, ever before?

      • John P says:

        CNN etc have been running the story and very distinctly stating that it cannot be substantiated or collaborated by any other source outside of the IDF

      • bigbad jon says:

        ‘Fully functional’ maybe a tad to0 optimistic.. From what I saw of the radiology dept both MRI machines looked like work in progress, apart from the piles of AK47’s lying around in all the rooms. I would’ve switched them on while they were stuffing the assault rifles in there, that would’ve been karma with the terrorists being knocked unconscious by the heavy AK47’s flying around at high speed thanks to the powerful magnets!

  • Audrey Smith says:

    The word Apartheid is electric for the use of rekindling the race discrimination here in South Africa and sadly used as an excuse for race hate speech in a Blairgowrie school for special needs children and the perpetrator although called to office for the offence used the excuse that his boss of his political party told him to say it. Can we behave as humane as possible to all who suffer wars and not make it a justification to a nefarious political end.

    • Vas K says:

      To me The Gift Of The Givers has always been a shining example of unselfish and unbiased organisation providing a charity to everyone. Exceptional and without exception. Sadly by taking sides in a conflict, they have now become just one of a thousand of charities who are pushing a political agenda. What a disappointmnet and what a pity.

  • Pieter van de Venter says:

    I am really disappointed in Dr Soolaiman. Up till now, I thought he had a working brain, but now he is just another Hamas supporter. DId your office in Gaza feed and sustain Hamas?

    And Dr Soolaiman, 27,800 people in SA died at the hand of the ANC incompetence.

  • Peter Forder says:

    The undeserved death of Ahmed Abbasi is such sad, sad news. My condolences to all the good people of “The Gift of the Givers” (a most wonderful South African organisation) and to Ahmed’s family. R.I.P.

  • ianhfraser says:

    I find it very disturbing that I have not heard any comments/ statements uttered by Ramaphosa and Pandor about the atrocities committed by Hamas on 7 Oct’23 !. ANC are a bunch of spineless incompetents.

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      I dont hear you condemning the killing of women and children in Gaza, how does that make you different from them, it is the duty of every state to protect human lives Israel is no exception i am sorry to burst your bubble but truth be told

  • Eddie B says:

    Any loss of life is a tragedy. And this one is no exception. But in the bigger scheme of things, two things stand out.

    We all know of the great work Gift of the Givers does. And it would probably be safe to say that with each gift went a little message of Islam as well, although I never got the impression that they pushed it very hard. I have always thought GOTG were politically non-aligned. Letting the EFF – in particular – carry your case, well that sends out a very disturbing message. And it changes my perception of you completely. That is a fail.

    Secondly, the glaring hypocrisy of the ANC, unfortunately the governing party in South Africa at the moment dragging us all under their umbrella. A government which can let al-Bashir slip in and out (correction: actually assisting him in getting and out of SA under an ICC warrant of arrest), a government which can side with Xi Jinping who repress/torture/kill Uyghurs (incidentally also Arab Muslims) in China for decades now, a governing party who had a huge internal battle about Putin the past year whether he should/shouldn’t be arrested upon arrival. But in spite of proven atrocities in Ukraine commit by Russia, they cannot choose a side. And then it took the ANC government less than a month to declare Netanyahu a war criminal?

    Sounds like a country which shouldn’t be taken seriously.

  • R IA says:

    If it’s true that he was directly targeted, the only word I can think of for that is disgusting.

  • Exactly why war should be the last, and never the first option. too many innocent casualties, regardless. But I’d like to here more about the incident, rather than the usual rhetoric so typical of our media, and no unfortunately the DM has capitulated to the mob too.

  • Grant Thiselton says:

    There’s no denying that it is a tragedy that Ahmed Abbasi died as a result of rocket fire from the Israeli Defence Force, there is no proof that it was targeted to kill him specifically. The critical proof we do have is that Hamas have their military posts inside or underneath civilian homes, hospitals, mosques and other public spaces, using Palestinian civilians as human shields. Some journalists and now Abbasi have been killed in the conflict, but probably not as targetted individuals.

    So the question to ask is whether Abbasi happened to be in or near a building targeted by the IDF as a military target or not. There has been no formal response from Israel yet, so the condemnation might be premature.

    Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible not to take sides in this conflict. I don’t believe that everything Israel has done is necessary, but I do believe (know) that Hamas are a terrorist organisation. Over the last two years, they have launched 10,000 or more missiles into Israel, targeting suburban or farming areas in almost every town in Israel.

  • robinbarnespmb says:

    Noone can but aplaud the work of Gift of the Givers worldwide, and as South Africans they make us proud. The death of Ahmed Abbasi is tragic. Our prayers and condolences go out to all who mourn his passing . However, reporting and statements should be based on the truth and facts which in this case they were not. We now know that the initial claim that he was shot by the IDF was a lie, and that this lie unneccessarily inflamed tensions. We also know that he was in a war zone in Northern Gaza which he was advised to leave, but he stayed there, and presumably accepted the risks. There is no logical reason to believe that the IDF would have targeted him. Unless there are facts to prove otherwise, the truth is, that he was certainly not murdered, but was probably tragically killed in the cross fire in the war by a rocket not intended to harm him personally as a civilian. I would have expected the Gift of the Givers and other comentators to have responsibly established the truth and the facts before making statements that inflamed rather than calmed tensions.

  • Rod H MacLeod says:

    Despite the uncertainty of the source of this rocket (previously publishes as gunned down in cold blood by IDF soldiers], and despite DM’s assertions of unbiased reporting and commenting on this issue, John Stupart in the Weekend Thing (DM) writes:

    “You should stand with Palestine, ignore the visceral, personal violence inflicted by Hamas, and oppose the Israeli apartheid.

    Or, you should support Israel’s callous indifference to human life other than of its own people, and oppose Palestinian resistance.”

    The choice of words is glaringly biased. Israel’s callous indifference to human life? As opposed to Hams’ visceral, personal violence? Support Israel and oppose Palestinian resistance (not Hamas terrorism, mind you, Palestinian resistance …)? As opposed to oppose Israeli apartheid?

    Come on Stupart – that is quite some bias. Oscar Wilde (who else?) once said morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike. How true – your anti-semitic slip is peeping from under your skirt, sir.

  • Robert K says:

    For years Gift of the Givers has been a beacon of hope to all of us. Now that it has taken a side in this horrible conflict, it has become a political player. That is very sad indeed.

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