South African foreign minister pledges to arrest citizens who fought for IDF

Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said ‘we are ready. When you come home, we are going to arrest you’


South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor speaks to the media following a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on a request from South Africa for emergency measures for Gaza, in The Hague on January 26, 2024. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) said Israel must do all it can to prevent genocide in its war with Hamas and allow aid into Gaza, as alarm has grown over Palestinians trapped by the conflict. South Africa had brought the case against Israel, accusing it of breaching the 1948 UN Genocide Convention, set up in the ashes of World War II and the Holocaust. (Photo by Remko de Waal / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT (Photo by REMKO DE WAAL/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

Jewish South Africans with dual citizenship face arrest if they return home after fighting in the Israeli army.

South Africa’s foreign minister said citizens who fight in the Israeli army or alongside them in Gaza will be arrested when they return home.

Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor commented on a Palestinian solidarity event attended by officials from South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party.

She said: “I have already issued a statement alerting those who are South African and are fighting alongside or in the Israeli Defense Forces: We are ready. When you come home, we are going to arrest you.”

Her comments received widespread applause from the audience.

In December, the South African government raised concerns that some of its citizens or permanent residents had joined the IDF to fight in Gaza.

The government warned those individuals they could face prosecution if they hadn’t been granted permission to join the IDF under South Africa’s arms control laws.

One mother of a Jewish South African fighting in Gaza told the Times: “For this to mean that they are now considered criminals and may get arrested when they visit South Africa is devastating.”

South Africa has a significant Jewish population of around 70,000 people, mostly in Cape Town and Johannesburg and it is unclear how many citizens have fought for Israel following the Hamas massacre on October 7.

South Africa has led the charge in the International Court of Justice that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza.

In turn, Israel has accused South Africa of being a representative of Hamas, who killed around 1,200 Israelis on October 7.

The terror group also took 250 hostages back to Gaza including women, babies, and the elderly.

Speaking at the event Pandor called on people to produce posters with the words “Stop Genocide” on them and stage protests outside the embassies of what she called the “five primary supporters” of Israel.

She said: “Don’t only come to this dinner. Be visible in the support of the people of Palestine.”

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