Saturday, January 22nd | 20 Shevat 5782

May 24, 2018 4:01 pm

South African Government Mocked for Calling on Israel to Withdraw Troops From Gaza

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo: South African Government via Flickr.

The South African government became a laughing stock on Twitter on Thursday after it called on Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, even though it already did so in 2005.

Israel unilaterally pulled all its soldiers and residents out of Gaza in 2005, nearly four decades after it took control of the coastal enclave from Egypt during the 1967 Six-Day War. Gaza is now ruled by the Hamas terrorist group, which has fought several wars against Israel over the past decade.

On Thursday morning, South Africa issued several tweets citing harsh government criticism of the Jewish state’s response to last week’s Hamas-orchestrated riot on the Israeli-Gaza border in which more than 60 Palestinians — mostly terrorists — were killed.

“Cabinet condemned in the strongest terms the acts of violent aggression carried out by Israeli armed forces along the Gaza border, which led to the deaths of a large number of civilians,” read one.

Another stated, “Cabinet reiterates calls made by several member states of the United Nations for an independent inquiry into the killings, with a view to hold those responsible accountable.”

One then added, “Cabinet calls on the Israeli Defence Force to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and bring to an end the violent and destructive incursions into Palestinian territories.”

Israeli journalist Lahav Harkov of The Jerusalem Post quickly responded, saying, “What’s funny about this is that the all Israelis, including the IDF, withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005. That’s 13 years ago. And somehow @GovernmentZA doesn’t know that.”

The tweet set off a merciless round of mockery, with a series of tweets poking fun at South Africa’s gaffe.

“The South African government calls on the South African government to free Nelson Mandela,” wrote Thomas Stern, referring to South Africa’s late president who spent decades in prison during the Apartheid era.

“You should also call upon the english to end the illegal occupation of Normandy and the end of the frankish occupation of the Rhineland. may as well throw in the Roman occupation of carthage too,” wrote Ryan Bellerose.

David Sachs asked, “Do you guys have google?”

A user known simply as “Andrew” relied on a pun, saying, “This tweet was written by an actual cabinet.”

Assaf Chiriqui asked, “Do you live under a rock?”

Others took a more serious tone. Judson McColloch, for example, slammed the South African government for adopting the policies of its volatile neighbor Zimbabwe as the reason for the tweet, saying, “Zimbabwe is their model government so……..”

International human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky slammed South Africa for its stance on Hamas. “You guys either aren’t very bright or just willfully ignorant & misleading. Israel withdrew completely from #Gaza in 2005,” he wrote. “But then again, I would expect nothing less from South Africa @GovernmentZA, today one of Hamas best friends!”

Nike Tilson asked, “Why don’t you focus on solving the water crisis in one of your major cities before lecturing others?” South Africa has been beset by massive droughts and water shortages in recent months. Although Israel offered to aid the country with desalinization technology, the offer was refused for political reasons.

Journalist and commentator Howard Feldman accused the government of parroting the BDS movement, saying, “You have got to stop BDS from writing your statements. They are making fools of you. You seriously have no idea how stupid you look. Gosh. So. Embarrassing.”

Israeli political consultant Arik Elman struck out at what he saw as South Africa’s hypocrisy on Israel, writing, “Hi, South African Government. In case you haven’t noticed, since 2005 there is no permanent Israeli presence in the Gaza Strip, neither civilian nor military. Moreover, during the recent clashes it was Hamas who attempted ‘violent and destructive incursions’ into Israel. Enjoy.”

The South African government has become increasingly hostile to the Jewish state in recent years, with a significant uptick over the past weeks.

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