PRETORIA – Israel’s ambassador to Pretoria met in the city Thursday morning with
officials at the South African International Relations
Ambassador Dov Segev-Steinberg conveyed to his counterparts
Israel’s official reaction to the South African trade minister’s proposal to ban
the labeling of products from the West Bank as “made in Israel.”
ambassador said Israel fears this will affect the bilateral relations between
the two countries. According to Segev-Steinberg, the proposal constitutes a
harsh discrimination which singles out Israel. Furthermore, it stands in
contradiction to the agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinian
A spokesman of the South African International Relations
Department told The Jerusalem Post that the meeting today with ambassador
Segev-Steinberg was a private meeting; hence the ministry will not comment on
it. He said that they will engage in further discussions with the ambassador in
a private and confidential manner.
A large pro-Israel demonstration took
place in Pretoria – near the office of Trade Minister Rob Davies – at the same
time as the meeting.
Over the last few months several incidents have
clouded the relations between the two countries, including an anti-Israeli
speech by the deputy minister of foreign affairs some two weeks ago. In
addition, the South African agriculture minister canceled his trip to Israel for
the Agri-tech exhibition last month.
Officials within the Jewish
community told the Post that the demonstration today highlights the fact that
even though the bilateral relations seem grim at the moment, Israel still has
many friends with in the South African people, friends who have decided to voice
their concern in light of these events.
The African Christian Democratic
Party, who organized today’s march, have planned another pro-Israel gathering
for Friday outside Parliament in Cape Town.