An open letter to the South African Ambassador re the condemnation of house building in Gilo
- To His Excellency, Ambassador Ismail Coovadia,
In attaching my reply to the recent South African government's condemnation of Israel’s approval of 900 new units in Gilo, I offer the following explanation of my motivation and I will be grateful if you will kindly forward a copy to President Zuma.
Apartheid in South Africa was so evil and even so foolish, that during World War 2, Black soldiers in the front lines suffered the same discrimination they were subjected to in civilian life. As a young man freshly discharged from the SA army after WW2 I became an active member of the Springbok Legion which had been formed by soldiers who were disgusted by the unequal treatment of Black fellow soldiers and which became the first large scale movement of Whites against apartheid Our National president, the late Jock Isacowitz, who was jailed at one stage by the security police, was an uncle of Beth Protea manager, Lynn Lochoff.
It was through my association with the Springbok Legion that I was aware of the ANC's Freedom Charter when it was adopted in 1955 calling for peace and friendship and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiation - not war. While I understand the ANC's empathy with the Palestinians, I find it difficult to understand the unqualified nature of this support in so far as I would expect the ANC to balance its criticism of Israel by expressing some reservations about the hate-filled charters of the PLO and Hamas that promote the direct opposite of the lofty ideals expressed in the ANC document.
The Freedom Charter states "The preaching and practice of national, race or colour discrimination and contempt shall be a punishable crime." The exact opposite occurs in the Palestinian areas, where incitement to kill infidels and to hate Jews continues daily in schools and on TV, effectively indoctrinating against any peaceful coexistence. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rx-CW3UKoIg&feature=related
In direct conflict with the ANC's peace by negotiation philosophy, article 9 of the PLO Charter states that not only is armed struggle the only way to liberate Palestine, but that this is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. Article 19 rejects the 1947 UN partition of Palestine, implying that liberating Palestine means destruction of the entire Jewish state and in article 20 the Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void.
Serious consideration of articles 19 and 20 should go a long way toards understanding the rejection of the offers made by Ehud Barak at Camp David in 2000 and more recently by Ehud Olmert that would reportedly have resulted in Israeli redeployment from 95% of the West Bank and in Palestinian control over East Jerusalem, including most of the Old City and Religious Sovereignty over the Temple Mount.
The Hamas charter makes it even clearer that there is absolutely no room for peaceful negotiation. Article 13 unambiguously states “Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”
While the ANC Freedom Charter speaks of friendship with all and expresses no animosity towards any group, the Hamas charter speaks of obliterating freemasons, rotary clubs, Lions, Zionists and similar organizations. Article 17 states unambiguously "When Islam will retake possession of [the means to] guide the life [of the Muslims], it will wipe out those organizations which are the enemy of humanity and Islam."
May we hope that the South African government will make a positive contribution to peace in this region by balancing the strong views it expressed on building houses in Gilo, with a follow-up statement, urging the adoption of the ANC’s policy of reconciliation, peace and friendship and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiation as well as prohibition of the prevalent preaching of racial hatred.