South African Facilitation in the Peace Process between Israel and Palestine

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR ORAL REPLY

QUESTION NO: 92

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 27 OF 23 AUGUST 2005

MRS M A A NJOBE (ANC) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS:

(1) Whether the implementation of the current disengagement plan of the Israeli government contributes towards the establishment of an independent Palestinian state; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, how much of the occupied Palestinian territory is expected to be returned to the Palestinian people through this process;

(2) How did the Spier Presidential Peace Initiative of 2003 contribute in facilitating the current peace process between Israel and Palestine? N1750E

REPLY:

(1) The Disengagement Plan, and the withdrawal from Gaza in particular, contributes towards the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, if withdrawal takes place within the framework of the Road Map. Therefore withdrawal from Gaza should be seen as the first step to withdrawal from the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The Disengagement Plan will result in the Palestinians assuming control, within certain limitations of approximately the entire surface area of Gaza, with the exception of the Philadelphi Corridor (its border with Egypt). The surface area of Gaza is 365 sq km (6 percent of the Occupied Palestinian Territory). Before disengagement Israeli settlers occupied approximately 30 percent of Gaza. The withdrawal from Gaza therefore constitutes the return of 30 percent of Gaza, which in turn constitutes 30 percent of 6 percent of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The withdrawal from four West Bank settlements constitute a withdrawal from 10 percent of the West Bank, i.e. 10 percent of a total of 94 percent of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The withdrawal from the West Bank however, is only a partial withdrawal, as the settlers will be withdrawn but all military installations, soldiers and checkpoints will remain. The withdrawal from Gaza should be seen in the framework of the Road Map.

(2) The objective of the Spier Process was to encourage dialogue through sharing the South African experience. Initially the target was the peace camps on both the Palestinian and Israeli side. This has been subsequently expanded to include in particular the Jewish Community in the Diaspora, the Likud party as well as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Therefore the Spier Process is an ongoing intervention which surely is making a contribution to the evolving situation through uncertain attempts at reviving the peace process.

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