Hamas joins Mandela family for commemoration

Henry

Senior Hamas officials joined the family of Nelson Mandela on Tuesday to mark the 10th anniversary of his death and shine a spotlight on the conflict in Gaza.

The country has since condemned Israel’s response to the unprecedented Hamas attacks on October 7, which led to a war in the region.

Mandela, who died in 2013 aged 95, made Palestine statehood one of his major international causes when he became president. Hamas representatives were among the Palestinians who laid a wreath when the Mandela family paid tribute at a giant statue of the former president.

Mandela’s grandson, Mandla Mandela, organized a two-day conference on the Israel-Palestine conflict before the wreath-laying at the Union Building in Pretoria.

Basem Naim, a former Hamas health minister in Gaza, and Khaled Qaddoumi, the militant group’s representative in Iran, were among the Palestinians who attended the conference and commemoration.

“We wanted to gain first-hand knowledge of the daily horror experienced in Gaza,” Mandla told the SABC. “It was an experience for them to be in South Africa and learn from our experience, because we were faced by one of the most violent apartheid regimes on the continent and we were able to overcome it.”

He said his grandfather considered the Palestinian state “the greatest moral issue of our time”. “We continue where he left off.”

Last month Mandla together with the ANC supported a motion in the national assembly during which a request was made that the Israeli embassy in the country should close and that diplomatic ties should be suspended in response to the war.

South Africa has also officially appealed to the International Criminal Court to investigate what Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa described as “Israel’s war crimes in Gaza”.

According to Israel, 1,200 people were killed when Hamas fighters crossed the border on October 7. According to Hamas, almost 16,000 people were killed in Israel’s counterattack.