Shashi Naidoo talks during a press conference at the BDS South Africa offices in Braamfontein. Picture: BDS/Twitter

SOUTH African model, actress and TV personality, Shashi Naidoo, has been barred by high-profile Israeli authorities from seeing Palestine.

Naidoo, who came under fire recently for her controversial comments about the conflict in the region.

She had referred to Gaza as a sh*thole among other contentious statements on social media, that drew widespread criticism.

After apologising at a public press briefing, Naidoo promised to visit both Israel and Palestine on a fact-finding mission to see for herself the effects of the ongoing conflict.

But the organisation 'Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel in South Africa (BDS South Africa) released a statement on Wednesday revealing that Naidoo had been blocked from "seeing for herself" the Israeli oppression against Palestinians.

BDS South Africa's Kwara Kekana said: "Earlier today Israel prevented Naidoo passage to Palestine. Israeli authorities control access to Palestine and blocked her on the orders of Israel's Interior Minister Aryeh Deriand the recommendation of Israel's Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan."
 
Naidoo joins a growing list of South Africans who have been denied passage to Palestine including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South African Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande, and World Council of Churches leader Isabel Phiri. 

"Israel also blocks Jews who are critical of Israel like Rabbi Alisa Wise of  Jewish Voices for Peace. This repressive behavior is how Israel treats Palestinians who are subjected to similar but worse forms of restriction and denial of many other freedoms, similar to the way we South Africans once were treated by the Apartheid regime," Kekana said.
 
She believed that Israel showed that it only allowed "praise-singers" into the country.

"This is a clear indication of Israel's refusal to allow freedom of movement, expression and association. This behavior by Israel infringes on our diplomatic relations and is a further indication of the need for South Africa to implement the ANC’s resolution for the immediate and unconditional downgrade of the SA Embassy as Israel. There can be no doubt that Israel is a hostile state to South Africa," she added.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE