SA lawyers support bid to expel Israeli ambassador

2014-07-22 17:22

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A prominent grouping of South African lawyers has supported the ANC in Parliament’s call for Israel’s ambassador to South Africa, Arthur Lenk, to be expelled.

The National Association of Democratic Lawyers (Nadel) also reiterated a previous statement that South Africa should cease all “trade relations and apply both diplomatic and economic sanctions against Israel”.

This came as the death toll from an Israeli military offensive in the Palestinian territory of Gaza today exceeded 600 Palestinians.

According to Reuters, 27 Israeli soldiers have died, and two Israeli civilians.

On Friday, the ANC’s parliamentary caucus expressed its outrage at the “wanton and unjustifiable bombardment and killings of innocent civilians, including children ... by Israeli military forces.

“As one of the measures to put pressure on Israel, we are of a firm view that our government must recall our ambassador to Israel and also ask the Israel ambassador to South Africa to leave with immediate effect.”

In Nadel’s press statement, issued by publicity secretary Gcina Malindi this afternoon, the organisation said it supported the call for Lenk to be expelled.

“We call for the innumerable resolutions of the United Nations to be implemented with immediate effect and that the United Nations Security Council intervene in the situation with all the necessary decisiveness.

“The world, in particular the developing countries, will lose faith in the UN unless it ensures that the Israeli aggression against the people of Palestine is stopped and that the integrity of Gaza is restored.”

Both the EFF and the ANC Youth League in the Western Cape have expressed their support for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador.

Government has, however, taken a more neutral line, with President Jacob Zuma condemning both the Israeli military offensive as well as rockets fired into Israel by Hamas.

Earlier today, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said Zuma had dispatched a special team to Israel and Palestine to convey the South African government’s concern about escalating violence in the region.

She also said SA would pledge $1 million (R10.58 million) in aid to Palestine.

Nadel is a group of lawyers that represents previously disadvantaged lawyers in the governance and regulation of the attorney’s profession in South Africa.

It counts among its membership prominent lawyers who were involved in the struggle for political freedom in South Africa.

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