(ANTIMEDIA) — Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Mandla Mandela, is on a “historic visit” to Israel and has not held back in his assessment of the current Israel-Palestine situation, the Jerusalem Post reports.
Mandela, a strong supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) and a member of South Africa’s Parliament, has signaled his intent to meet several Palestinian leaders but made no mention of visiting Israeli officials.
South Africa, a country with its own history of apartheid, has been a staunch backer of the Palestinian movement for years. South Africa’s International Relations Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, once stated: “The Palestinian struggle is our struggle.”
Nelson Mandela himself also famously believed that his people’s freedom was “incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” Now, it would appear that his grandson has also taken on this strong belief regarding Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people.
During a joint press conference with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Monday, Mandela said:
“The settlements I saw here [in the West Bank] reminded me of what we had suffered in South Africa because we also were surrounded by many settlements and were not allowed to move from one place to another freely.”
He also added that “Palestinians are being subjected to the worst version of apartheid,” before citing Israel as “the worst apartheid regime.” He called for the continuance of BDS and for South Africa to cut all ties with “apartheid Israel.”
During South Africa’s apartheid-era, Israel actually offered to sell South Africa nuclear weapons, suggesting Israel strongly supported the apartheid regime at the time. Now that the apartheid era is over, many South Africans are highly critical of Israel’s behavior towards the Palestinian people.
In March this year, a U.N. report accused Israel of imposing an “apartheid regime” of racial discrimination on the Palestinian people. Shortly after its release, the official who approved its publication resigned amid pressure from the United States and Israel to pull the report. It has since been withdrawn.
“What we have experienced in South Africa is a fraction of what the Palestinians are experiencing,” Mandela said in an interview with Royal News English on Sunday.
“We were oppressed in order to serve the white minority. The Palestinians are being eliminated off their land and brought out of their territories, and this is a total human-rights violations. I think it is a total disgrace that the world is able to sit back while such atrocities are being carried out by apartheid Israel.”
The Post notes that while Mandela is strongly critical of Israel, he still supports the country’s right to exist. In other words, Mandela’s main focus is specifically in relation to Israel’s actions towards the Palestinians.
According to the Jerusalem Post, during an anti-Israel march in July, Mandela 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.”