Volume. 11872

Netanyahu to skip Mandela funeral because "too expensive"
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c_330_235_16777215_0___images_stories_edim_01_Netanyahu99a.jpgIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided not to attend a memorial service for ardent Palestinian supporter Nelson Mandela this week because he couldn't afford to travel to South Africa, Israeli media claimed.
Netanyahu had notified the South African authorities that he would fly in but cancelled his plans at the last minute alleging that the flight and accommodations would set him back around 7.0 million shekels ($2 million), public radio and the Haaretz daily reported.
But Netanyahu apparently chose to cancel the trip to avoid embarrassment at a ceremony to honor a man who struggled against violent and racist policies that mirror those practiced by the Israeli government towards Palestinians.
Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has announced that he will attend Tuesday's memorial service.
Israel was one of the apartheid-era regime's staunchest supporters, with the Zionist segregationist model largely mirroring that of the former apartheid state.
After his release from 27 years of incarceration in 1990, Mandela, who first visited occupied Palestine in 1999, became an ardent supporter of the Palestinian cause and a fierce critic of Israel.
He is famously quoted as saying: "We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians."
(Source: AFP)

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