Mandla Mandela in Israel that he insists is Palestine
While in the country, Mandla Mandela called on South Africans to further the boycott against Israel and continue fighting for the “freedom of the Palestinian people”.
“It is now for the next generation to uphold his (Nelson Mandela’s) commitment to the Palestinian people,” Mandela said.
As part of his visit, Mandela had “constructive meetings” with 83-year-old PA President Mahmoud Abbas as well as Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad, director of the Arafat Foundation Nasser Al-Kidwa and the Governor of Jericho Majed Al Fityani.
According to the Wafa news agency, while meeting with Mandela, on Monday Abbas hailed South Africa’s continued support for the Palestinian cause.
While meeting with Mandela in Ramallah, Hamdallah highlighted the inspiring legacy of the younger Mandela’s late grandfather.
He also stressed the strength of bilateral ties between the Palestinian Authority and South Africa and the historic relationship formed between the late presidents Yasser Arafat and Nelson Mandela. He also praised South Africa’s position in supporting the Palestinian people and championing their cause in the international arena.
Hamdallah briefed the South African MP on Israel’s so-called “violations against the Palestinians, including settlement expansion and displacement projects that constitute a major obstacle to realising the dream of establishing a Palestinian state”.
The two politicians also discussed ways to strengthen their co-operation and advance bilateral relations.
On Tuesday, Mandela also visited Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Hebron and Arafat’s mausoleum in Ramallah. Close to the mausoleum is a six-metre high, bronze statue of Nelson Mandela, who is famous among Palestinians for saying: “We know all too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
Mandela visited the Palestinian territories as part of international solidarity month with the Palestinian struggle. Prior to the four-day visit, which took place from Sunday to Wednesday, he met with Palestinian leader and BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti in Amman.
A statement released earlier this week said Mandela, a staunch Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) supporter and a member of Parliament, would “hold several meetings with Palestinian leaders” but made no mention of meeting with his Israeli counterparts. The Foreign Ministry appeared to corroborate the statement by saying: “We have no information on the visit.”
In the past, Mandela has made several calls for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador to South Africa and has continuously supported the cutting of ties between the two countries.
In August, he applauded the South African Parliament’s decision to shun a delegation of Israeli MKs who were visiting the country.
During an anti-Israel march in July, he demanded “that all ties be cut with Israel… no trade ties, no cultural ties and no travel! We demand that Israel complies with international law and demand the return of six million Palestinian refugees, driven from the land of their birth. We demand that all occupied land be returned, and we condemn the continued expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.”
He continued: “Today, we stand to salute the brave and fearless Palestinian people who are facing the brutal might of the Israeli Army to defend al-Aqsa with their bare hands. We demand that all occupied land be returned. Madiba reminded us that our freedom is incomplete until Palestine is free.”
Although Nelson Mandela was critical of “the occupation”, he fully supported Israel’s right to exist.
During a visit to Israel in 1999, the former South African president said: “I cannot conceive of Israel withdrawing if Arab states do not recognise Israel within secure borders.” But he also made it clear “that talk of peace remains hollow if Israel continues to occupy Arab lands”.