‘Worst Version’ of South African Apartheid – Vusi Madonsela on Palestine

South Africa's Ambassador to the Netherlands Vusi Madonsela at the ICJ public hearing. (Photo: video grab)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Vusi Madonsela, South Africa’s ambassador to The Netherlands, has reportedly said that “the worst version of what we experienced under the apartheid system” is being witnessed in occupied Palestine. 

South Africa’s ambassador to The Netherlands, Vusi Madonsela, has said that as a country that directly experienced oppression and suffered under the apartheid system, it was “very important” to ensure that “no one else in the world suffers under a similar system.”

Madonsela was one of the speakers at a seminar titled ‘Gaza: Legal and political implications of genocide’, organized by The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and hosted by the Green Group in the European Parliament. 

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In occupied Palestine, “We are seeing the worst version of what we experienced under the apartheid system,” Madonsela said in response to a question from the Anadolu news agency about South Africa’s case brought against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for allegedly contravening the Genocide Convention. 

Therefore, “We considered it our duty to our own people and the international community (to file a lawsuit),” he stated (according to a Google translation of the Turkish report). 

The ambassador said South Africa believed that it had sufficient evidence to prove Israel was committing the crime of genocide in its military onslaught on the Gaza Strip. 

“Not only the statements of very high-level officials, including the army but also the actions of the soldiers on the field and some segments of the population are consistent with the intention to destroy the Palestinian people.”

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On that basis, Madonsela said, “we decided that there was a case that needed to be opened… a case for which Israel should be held accountable.”

Last month, the ICJ ordered Israel to take measures to prevent genocide as well as punish direct incitement of genocide in Gaza.

Madonsela said that “at the end of this process, we expect the court to declare that Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestinian territory is illegal and must therefore end.”

“Once the court does this, it will be up to the General Assembly to move forward, guided by the court’s statements, on how to implement the abolition of apartheid in Palestinian territory. “

Madonsela called on other states that are party to the Convention on the Prevention of the Crime of Genocide “to attend the hearings to present their own perspectives, along with the evidence they have, to show the court that Israel is guilty of genocide.”

Cancel EU-Israel Agreements

Also speaking at the seminar was French MP Mounir Satouri from the Greens Group, who criticized the fact that there are still MEPs in the EP who see what is happening in Gaza within the framework of Israel’s right to self-defense, reports Anadolu. 

Satouri stressed “the need to cancel the Association Agreement between the EU and Israel”, the report adds. 

Former Belgian Federal Parliament Member and Senator Simone Susskind reportedly reminded the session that in 2015, the Belgian Federal Parliament approved a resolution calling for recognizing Palestine as a state and said that Belgium must stand by this resolution.

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Susskind called on all European countries to recognize a Palestinian state as a first step, reports Anadolu. 

The report adds that FIDH Vice President and lawyer Alexis Deswaef said that they are working with 188 organizations from 116 countries.

“We are trying to collect information about crimes,” Deswaef said.

International Solidarity

He stressed that what is happening in Gaza is “clearly genocide” called on the Parliament to take action by condemning Israel and pressuring their governments to stop the sale of arms and ammunition to Israel, the report states. 

Lawyer and human rights expert Lawyer Leung, told the seminar that as a South African human rights defender, he wanted to stress that international solidarity is very effective in such situations. 

Prosecutor Johann Soufi, an expert on international criminal law and human rights, that Israel has a responsibility under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide to recognize Israel’s actions in Gaza as genocide, Anadolu reports.

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Éléonore Morel, CEO of FIDH, said in a statement that the event proves that there is “more than just public curiosity about this topic, but genuine interest.”

She said FIDH “is driving the debate. We were among the first international NGOs to clearly label Israel’s actions as genocide. And it is our role to foster dialogue among states, civil societies, and institutions to find common ground and advance towards justice and an end to impunity.”

The event was moderated by Maha Abdallah, legal researcher at the Ramallah-based human rights organization “Al-Haq,” and Yosra Frawes, legal advisor at FIDH.

(PC, Anadolu)

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