BNF’s Secretary for International Affairs, Nelson Ramaotwana, has called on the Botswana government to sever ties with Israel.

Botswana’ main opposition party, the Botswana National Front (BNF), has called on the government of Botswana to terminate all relations with Israel. This comes in the wake of Israel’s massacre of 60 people on the Israel-Gaza border on Monday.

In a scathing statement, BNF’s Secretary for International Affairs, Nelson Ramaotwana said: “The BNF does not only condemn the barbaric acts of Israel but call upon the government of Botswana to terminate forthwith all diplomatic relations, trade linkages, military and intelligence support from Israel. We call upon Batswana from all walks of life to boycott and disinvest from Israel products and businesses in solidarity with 61 butchered and 2700 injured Palestinians.”

African condemnation of Israeli massacre continues

Condemnation from Africa has been pouring in since Monday’s bloodbath, which has been likened to the Sharpeville massacre perpetrated by apartheid South Africa’s military forces against unarmed protesters in 1960.

Southern African Development Community (SADC)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) – an inter-governmental organization with the goal of furthering socio-economic, political and security co-operation among 16 southern African states – “strongly condemned the killing of unarmed protesters who have taken to the streets in a non-violent protest.”

The SADC statement reaffirmed the African Union (AU) position calling for the establishment of a Palestinian State based on the June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital in, implementation of the principle of the two-State solution and UN Resolution 194 on the return of Palestinian refugees.

Currently chaired by South Africa, SADC members include Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Earlier this week, AU chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, slammed the “disproportionate use of force by the Israeli army.” On Thursday, the Pan-African Parliament adopted the AU stance.

South African Parliament asked to downgrade relations with Israel

On Thursday, the National Freedom Party (NFP) in South Africa submitted a motion to Parliament calling for the South African embassy in Israel be downgraded to a liaison office. NFP leader, Ahmed Shaik Emam, said: “The endless barbaric acts of terrorism perpetuated against the Palestinians by the apartheid Israel regime, the mass murder of innocent Palestinians including women and children are done with absolute impunity. Countries, including South Africa, have been far too patient while people are killed and international law is ignored.

Today we want action. Today the NFP will help ensure that action is taken against the apartheid regime of Israel. The time to act is now, all the rhetoric in the world is fruitless if no real action is taken – I, and we as the NFP, will shake this Parliament and government into action. The NFP wants decisive action, but more importantly we want real action.”

The National Assembly would vote on the motion at the next available sitting of the House.

South African rep at UN HRC: “HRC investigation essential”
At an emergency UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva on Friday, South Africa’s representative, Ambassador Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko stressed that the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry into the Israeli massacre is the most effective way of responding to urgent crises in the world by the HRC. After a 29-2 vote, with US and Australia opposed, the HRC approved an investigation into Israel’s killing of Palestinian protesters since March 30.

“We have done it for Syria, Burundi, South Sudan, among others. It cannot be that this mechanism is reserved only for settling geopolitical scores, thereby creating a perception of selectivity by the Council. We cannot pick and choose the countries to which this mechanism is applied. Therefore, what is being called for here is not new, but tried and tested and above all proportionate. This Commission should strive to complete its work as these other Commissions have done…” Mxakato-Diseko explained.