The Muslim Lawyers Association of South Africa is working to have former Israeli President Shimon Peres arrested during his upcoming visit to the country, Channel 10 News reported on Monday.
According to the report, the organization has asked the state prosecutor to issue an arrest warrant for Peres, who is supposed to visit the country later this week and meet senior officials in the local Jewish community.
The cause for the request, according to Channel 10, is Peres’s alleged support for France in its war against Algeria and his responsibility for Israel’s shelling in 1996 of the southern Lebanese village of Qana during IDF’s Operation Grapes of Wrath.
It appears, however, as though the main motive behind the campaign is Peres’s support of the apartheid regime in South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s, the channel noted.
The Media Review Network (MRN), a Johannesburg-based organization which says it is dedicated to “exposing Zionist Apartheid and the occupation of Palestine”, on Monday published a statement in which it welcomed the Muslim Lawyers Association’s move to arrest Peres.
”Peres was France’s principle ally in her fight against Algeria’s resistance fighters. His support for the French during the 1956 Suez Crisis was disastrous, to say the least,” the statement said, adding that Peres was “the chief architect of the illegal settlement project in the central regions of the West Bank.”
The Israeli Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in response that they are working with the authorities in South Africa in order to prevent a possible arrest of Peres.
The former Israeli President experienced something similar last year before a visit to Morocco, where opposition to his visit sparked calls for his arrest.
Local Facebook groups branded Peres a "war criminal," and called on authorities in Rabat to prevent him from entering the country.
The initiative in South Africa is yet another demonstration of the anti-Israel sentiments which remain prevalent in that country.
The government in South Africa has frequently accused Israel of applying a policy of “apartheid” towards Palestinian Arabs. The latest example came in September when the ruling ANC party proposed new rules regarding dual citizenship meant to stop South African citizens from joining the IDF.
South Africa's Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein issued a stinging response to the proposed rules, calling out the ANC party on its hypocritical and "obsessive" stance vis-a-vis the State of Israel.
South Africa has also imposed rules requiring that goods imported from Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem display special labels.
President Jacob Zuma’s party has in the past compared Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza to the actions of the Nazis during World War II, evoking outrage from Jewish groups in the country.