SA embassy trying to get access to detained woman in Israel

2016-10-06 17:05
Palestinians show their solidarity with a Gaza-bound flotilla of international activists attempting to break the Israeli blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. (Mohammed Abed, AFP)

Palestinians show their solidarity with a Gaza-bound flotilla of international activists attempting to break the Israeli blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. (Mohammed Abed, AFP)

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Johannesburg - The Department of International Relations and Co-operation says it is working with Israeli authorities to try and gain access to a South African woman who has been detained by officials.

"Our embassy in Tel Aviv is liaising with Israeli authorities and arranging access to the detained SA national,” Dirco spokesperson Nelson Kgwete said on Thursday.

Kgwete could not provide any further information on the woman’s circumstances.

On Wednesday, Leigh-Ann Naidoo made a plea for help after Israeli government officials intercepted a boat carrying pro-Palestinian female activists to Gaza. She said she had been "kidnapped" during her humanitarian mission.

In a video posted on YouTube, Naidoo said: "If you are seeing this video, we have been intercepted and kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces. I want to put [out] an appeal to all my comrades, brothers, sisters and families to put pressure on the South African government to insist that they release me as soon as possible."

Another crew member, Mairead Maguire from Northern Ireland, said they were intercepted in international waters and taken to Israel.

Naidoo wrote in a diary entry, published by, that most boats in the "Freedom Flotilla" were rerouted to the Israeli port of Ashdod, where the Israeli Defence Force would question, process, and deport the women.

"From here, we will either be moved to a prison or our deportation will be done while we are being held at the detention centre. Our embassies will come to help us and our legal representatives will do the same. Hopefully our mission will highlight the unlawful and inhumane blockade of Palestine."

The international Freedom Flotilla Coalition is a global movement composed of campaigns and initiatives aimed at bringing relief and assistance to residents of Gaza.

The Israeli government has said on previous occasions that its maritime, land and sea blockade of Gaza was aimed at preventing Hamas from getting weapons and supplies which could be used for military purposes.

Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007, and is allegedly seeking to destroy Israel.

Read more on:    dirco  |  gaza  |  israel  |  johannesburg

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