CAPE TOWN (JTA) — African National Congress lawmakers said Israeli abuses against Palestinians "make apartheid look like a Sunday school picnic."
Israeli Ambassador to South Africa Dov Segev-Steinberg, who was appearing before the South African national assembly’s foreign affairs committee on Jan. 16, reportedly dismissed the apartheid comparisons as "rubbish," according to a report in Weekend Argus.
Committee chairman Job Sithole said that when Palestinians were forced to go through checkpoints "like cattle through a dip, this is apartheid."
Another lawmaker accused the Israeli government of "ethnic cleansing" against the Palestinians, and the granddaughter of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Albert Luthuli strongly criticized Israel for preventing international journalists from entering the Gaza Strip.
Segev-Steinberg said the South African government could contribute "enormously" to peace in the region if it demonstrated a "more balanced view" of events there.
Cosatu, one of the ruling alliance’s partners, has called for the expulsion of the ambassador, the embassy to be closed down, the boycott of Israeli goods and the "savage rule of Zionism over the Palestinian territories to come to an end."