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EXCLUSIVE: South African Foreign Minister tells Zeteo 'huge murder underway' in Gaza

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“For us to be invisible in a massive human struggle where we know a huge murder is underway, I think that is unacceptable.” - Naledi Pandor

Late last year, the South African government took the historic step of filing a case with the world’s highest court, accusing Israel of genocide. Less than a month later, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued a momentous ruling, saying it was plausible the Israeli military’s actions in Gaza amounted to genocide.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Israeli government and its loudest allies in Washington and London have denied the accusations made at the ICJ, calling them meritless and saying Israel has a right to defend itself after the atrocities Hamas committed on October 7. 

But as the death toll in Gaza continues to climb and starvation becomes a daily reality for Palestinians in the besieged enclave, South Africa has gained a growing chorus of supporters across the globe for its efforts to hold Israel to account. The face of those efforts has been South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor, who spoke to Mehdi this week for Zeteo’s first sit-down interview in Washington, D.C.

REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

“I think it had to be South Africa” to bring the case against Israel, Pandor told Mehdi. It’s the “only country that has a similar experience to the Palestinian people and that has been firmly attached to the struggle for freedom and human rights,” she said, referring to the racial segregation and brutality black South Africans endured under apartheid.

“For us to be invisible in a massive human struggle where we know a huge murder is underway [in Gaza], I think that is unacceptable. … And having a large protest with a million is insufficient. There has to be an ongoing campaign to say to the world: ‘This can't be.’” 

Zeteo is a reader-supported publication founded by Mehdi Hasan. To receive new posts and support our independent work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

In this exclusive Zeteo interview with Pandor, the South African foreign minister shares more on the ICJ case, calls for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s arrest, denounces Western states for supporting Israel, and addresses Elon Musk’s claim of a “white genocide” in South Africa.

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