South Africa defends Haniyeh overture

A South African official rebuffed Jewish criticism of Pretoria’s
offer to host the Palestinian Authority prime minister from Hamas. Intelligence
Minister Ronnie Kasrils issued a statement Monday defending his
government’s decision to invite Ismail Haniyeh, a leader of the terrorist group who is
widely shunned in the West.

“Those who myopically object to such invitations
merely show that they have learnt nothing from South Africa’s
transition,” Kasrils said, referring to the defunct apartheid
regime.

South Africa’s Jewish Board of Deputies has denounced Hamas’
“racist ideology” and described a Haniyeh visit as at odds with the country’s post-apartheid spirit. Kasrils, who is Jewish, is strongly anti-Zionist and is a fierce critic of Israel. He says he backs Israeli-Palestinian
coexistence, but Hamas preaches Israel’s destruction.

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