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The War between Israel and Hamas has Exposed Divisions in South Africa

South African sympathy for the Palestinian fight for an independent state goes back to the days of late anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela. He famously said in 1997, three years after he became the country’s first democratically elected president after decades of struggle against white-minority rule: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” President Ramaphosa has pledged the ANC’s solidarity with the Palestinians, saying their history had echoes of apartheid – and South Africa’s struggle against white-minority rule. Its pro-Palestinian position has been condemned by the country’s Jewish Board of Deputies, the South African Zionist Federation and the largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA). Because of the passionate views on both sides, some South African talk radio stations have deliberately limited airtime around taking calls from listeners keen to discuss the war between Israel and Hamas. Large pro-Palestinian protest marches have been held around South Africa since the conflict began.