Israel: Call to cut ties is absurd

2012-11-24 11:23

Should Israel’s ambassador to South Africa be expelled in the wake of Israel’s recently ­concluded war with Gaza?

The question has two components. One is whether serious human rights ­violations by a foreign state are sufficient cause for breaking off ties. The other is whether Israel’s conduct in the war was sufficiently iniquitous to justify such ­action by South Africa.

Regarding the first question, if the ­answer is that severing ties is called for under such circumstances, then why has South Africa not done so in the case of Syria, where 40 000 people have been massacred by their government, or the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the killing of civilians has reached genocidal proportions?

To maintain relations with those countries while breaking them off with Israel over a conflict where deaths were well under 200 is absurd.

The answer to the second question is “obviously, not”. It is palpably untrue that in its military ­response to multiple missile attacks by Hamas from Gaza that Israel deployed “excessive force” that ­resulted in the ­unnecessary deaths of Palestinian civilians.

The exact opposite was the case. The Israel Defence Forces was successful in recording a low ratio of civilian-to-combatant fatalities.

This it achieved through, among other things, making thousands of phone calls to Gaza residents warning them of Israel Defence Forces strikes, dropping leaflets warning civilians to avoid the ­vicinity of Hamas ­operatives, diverting missiles in mid-flight due to civilians being present at the ­target site and, whenever possible, ­singling out targets in a way that ­endangered few or no bystanders.

By contrast, did Hamas issue similar warnings to the Israeli civilians it ­bombarded?

Of course not, since harming Israeli non-combatants is part and parcel of the Hamas strategy and always has been. By the conclusion of this conflict, there had been about 150 Palestinian deaths, divided roughly evenly ­between combatants and non-combatants. This is a remarkably low ratio.

Expelling the Israeli ambassador would only play into the hands of such extremists and South Africa would only undermine its own international stature.

» Saks is associate director of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies 

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.