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South African Foreign Minister: We Will Arrest Citizens Who Fight for Israel

In January, South Africa removed the Jewish captain of the U-19 National Cricket Team for posting pro-Israel comments on social media.
Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s foreign minister, in Pretoria on 5 March 2024. AFP
Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s foreign minister, in Pretoria on 5 March 2024. AFP

South Africa’s Foreign Minister, Naledi Pandor, announced on Sunday that citizens who participate in Israel’s war against the Hamas terrorist organization would be arrested if they ever return to the country.

Naledi Pandor threatens to arrest South Africans who serve in the IDF.

While attending a pro-Palestinian conference in Pretoria, the longtime ANC member said, “I have already issued a statement alerting those who are South African and who are fighting alongside or in the Israeli Defense Forces. We are ready. When you come home, we’re going to arrest you.”

Her comments endorse a December statement released by her ministry asserting that individuals who travel to Israel for military service may be subject to citizenship revocation and be “liable for prosecution in South Africa.” The policy also stated that any IDF participation would require prior approval from the government.

When Israel announced the call up for reserve forces at the start of the October war in Gaza, the orders included many who resided overseas. The Jewish community in South Africa is currently the largest on the continent, with a membership of approximately 75,000 according to the South African Jewish Board of Deputies.

In addition to her legal threats, Pandor also used the meeting to refer to Palestinians as having a mutual relationship with South Africa that was one “of freedom fighters, of activists, of nations that share a history, a history of struggle for justice and freedom.”

The minister went on to encourage others to protest in front of the embassies of Israel’s allies.

The remarks come at a time when her office is currently the lead complainant in proceedings at the International Court of Justice that accuse the Jewish state of committing acts of ‘genocide’ against the civilian population in Gaza. These allegations have solicited strong denials from Jerusalem.

Related Story: ICJ to Hold Israel ‘Genocide’ Hearing Next Week

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