Lest We Forget – Israel’s Support for South Africa
|As true today as when Mandela spoke|
In the summer of 1988, Benn says, Israel reportedly sold South Africa 60 Kfir combat planes in a hushed-up deal worth $1.7 billion. The planes were upgraded and renamed Atlas Cheetah and Israel’s involvement was played down because the US was party to the sanctions regime
The lame excuses made up by Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu for failing to go to Nelson Mandela’s memorial on Tuesday have raised eyebrows and wry smiles all over the world. Having insisted on a £150,000 refit of the plane he and his wife took for the five-hour flight to Lady Thatcher’s funeral in London earlier this year, the trip to Johannesburg would, he claimed, be “too costly”. This from a man who spends thousands a year – from the public purse - on pistachio ice-cream
|Netanyahu could not afford the price of a ticket to South Africa|
|Peres also couldn't go to South Africa - he had flu!|
|Begin, Rabin and Moshe Dayan entertain John Vorster, hardline supporter of Apartheid and an ex-Nazi interned during the wary|
In response, he was unceremoniously dumped by the ZFGB and left high and dry in a B&B in Golders Green on a Friday night. He was eventually rescued by the New Fund for Israel and invited to a crowded gathering in a North London Reform synagogue.
|Israelis nuclear co-operation with Pretoria|
Yet it now emerges that for decades Israel supported the “A-word” regime and its military with advanced weapon systems at a time when Western sanctions meant no one else would. According to Haaretz editor Aluf Benn, the cooperation reached its peak in the late 1980s, the twilight of the apartheid regime.
In the summer of 1988, Benn says, Israel reportedly sold South Africa 60 Kfir combat planes in a hushed-up deal worth $1.7 billion. The planes were upgraded and renamed Atlas Cheetah and Israel’s involvement was played down because the US was party to the sanctions regime, according to Haaretz.
Israel joined the international sanctions in 1987 but said it would honour existing contracts so the deal went ahead anyway. A few weeks later, the Israelis launched the first Ofek reconnaissance satellite which Benn claims could only have been developed with South African funding. And only in 1991 was the US able to force the Israeli government to stop selling SA short and midrange missiles.
Maps which were only revealed in the past few days show how the Israelis plan to create bantustans for the Nomadic Bedouin in its southern Negev region. Tens of thousands of them would be forced into ghettoes to make way for new Jewish towns and military zones. A-word, anyone?