Israel protests to South Africa over Hamas invite
Israel on Monday summoned South Africa's deputy ambassador to deliver a "strong protest" over a planned visit by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, the foreign ministry said.
Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said in a statement that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party had invited a delegation of the Islamist militant group to be headed by Meshaal.
“We believe this invitation encourages terror by giving some legitimacy to a terror organisation, recognised as such by the civilised world,” said the statement.
The European Union and the United States have blacklisted Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, as a terror organisation.
Nelson Mandela, the late South African president and ANC leader, was an ardent supporter of the Palestinian cause and a champion for Middle East peace.