South Africa is preparing to boycott October's Africa-Israel summit in Togo, the country’s ambassador to Lebanon announced this week.
Ambassador Sean Benfeldt says that the meeting aims to normalize relations between African countries and an “occupation state.” He highlighted Israel’s “inhumane blockade of the Gaza Strip”, while pressing to end the humanitarian suffering of Palestinians in the besieged territory.
Benfeldt also called for a special discussion soon with ambassadors from African countries in Lebanon to talk about the meeting and the need to boycott it.
Last month, the South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, who also heads the African National Congress (ANC) foreign affairs portfolio, questioned the African-Israel Summit's remit.
“We cannot turn a blind eye to Israeli efforts to galvanise support from Africa and elsewhere, with a view to undermining the Palestinian cause,” she said.
Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritania, have already decided to boycott the summit, the first of its kind.
The Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad organisation is urging other nations to do the same.
It sent a letter to the invited governments which said "African countries which fought colonialism for decades and became free after a long suffering should never associate themselves with the only, longest and most brutal colonial project in the world today".
The Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu described Togo’s agreement to hold the meeting in the capital Lome as “the best testimony to the success of our policy, of Israel’s presence in Africa.”
The summit, is due to take place on October 23. It's billed as forum to enhance cooperation in the fields of technology, development and security.