The recently retired South African ambassador to Israel has taken a parting shot at the country's treatment of Palestinians, calling it a "replication of apartheid."
Ismail Coovadia made the statement in a letter to pro-Palestinian activists.
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In it, Coovadia explained his decision to reject a symbolic gift from the Israeli government and the Jewish National Fund – the planting of some 18 trees in his honor in a national park named after South Africa not far from Beersheba.
"Regrettably, my permission was not sought (by the JNF nor the Israeli government) to plant trees in my or the name of the South African Ambassador on usurped land, the rightful land of the Palestinians and Bedouins.
"I reserve the right to the usage of my name...I have supported the struggle against apartheid South Africa and now I cannot be a proponent of what I have witnessed in Israel, and that is, a replication of apartheid," he wrote.
Africa's post-apartheid government frequently identifies with the Palestinians.
Coovadia, who completed his four-year term in January, confirmed the letter's contents on Tuesday.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Coovadia did not made such complaints during his term. Israel routinely rejects the apartheid comparison.
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