F.W. de Klerk, South Africa’s last president under white rule, said in an interview that the country was not an apartheid state at the moment since both Israelites and Palestinians are well represented and there is no huge discrimination among the two warring parties. He however suggested that Israel risked heading toward apartheid if it does not reach a peace deal with the Palestinians.
De Klerk’s words carry special meaning, given his role in South Africa’s painful history of race relations. He was the last president under apartheid and along with the late Nelson Mandela, brought about the end to decades of systematic racial discrimination against blacks, jointly winning the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.
Comparisons to South Africa’s racist rule have increased in public discourse about Israel and its treatment of Palestinians. In April, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry — who had been mediating negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians — set off an uproar when he compared the Israel-Palestine situation to apartheid.
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