Thursday, 23 August 2012

South Africa: It’s either “Made in Palestine” or “Not in Israel”

By Gael Masengi

The South African cabinet has approved a proposal requiring products originating from Palestine’s Israeli occupied territories not to be labelled as “Made in Israel” rather “Made in Occupied Palestinian Territory”.

Jimmy Manyi, government spokesperson said in press briefing on Wednesday “ Cabinet approved that notice, in terms of Consumer Protection Act, 2008, be issued by the Minister of Trade and Industry requiring the labelling of goods or products emanating from Israel occupied territories to prevent consumers being led to believe such goods come from Israel.”  This comes as South Africa (along other countries) only recognises the 1948 borders as it did vote in favour of that resolution in 1947 –which the United Sates’ president, Barack Obama also once urged Israeli and Palestinian people to base peace talk on– delineated by the United Nations and does not recognise occupied territories beyond those borders as being part of the Jews state. Earlier this year, Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies already announced his plan to issue an official notice to require traders in South Africa not to incorrectly label products that come from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) as products of Israel.     

For years South Africa had a ‘not-so-good’ relation with Israel, but recently it has exploded when Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, South African deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation publicly called upon South Africans to avoid visiting Israel because Its treatment of Palestinians –a system which is always been compared to the Apartheid regime and black South Africans can relate to– “Israel is an occupier country which is oppressing Palestine, so it is not proper for South Africans to associate with Israel,” He said “We discourage people from going there except if it has to do with the peace process.”  The comments incited angry response from Jerusalem, “This proves our point,” Israel Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor said. “All their initiatives to mutually inform, as it were, the consumer are nothing but a boycott in disguise. Now things have come out into the open as a senior member of the government is openly calling for generalised, non-discriminating and discriminatory boycott of Israelis.” Time of Jerusalem

Israel Hit back

On Wednesday, the Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon slammed South African authorities for the recent killing of 34 striking platinum miners in Marikana, North West province. “At the moment South Africa’s Apartheid is aimed at Israel and against miners within South Africa itself,” Ayalon said. “Instead of deciding to label Israel products, South Africa should have acted courageously towards the 34 innocent miners that were just asking for an improvement in working conditions.”

Israel was once one of a few nations to have strong relations with Apartheid government in South Africa.

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