South Africa’s response to latest Israeli Settlement Activities in East Jerusalem
The South African government expresses its concern at the latest round of Israeli settlement activities in East Jerusalem and registers its condemnation of Israel’s approval of 900 new settlement units in the settlement of Gilo, south of East Jerusalem. South Africa is aware of the statements of the Palestinian leadership that this settlement expansion on the part of Israel will result in an increase in the Israeli settler population over the next two years that will exceed the previous two.
South Africa takes note of the statements by United States President Barack Obama who stated that: "I think that additional settlement building does not contribute to Israel's security, it makes it harder for them to make peace with their neighbours. I think it embitters the Palestinians in a way that could end up being very dangerous.” We also take cognisance of the statements of the European Union presidency which said that: "If there is to be genuine peace, a way must be found to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states.”
South Africa maintains that these attempts by Israel to create facts on the ground imperil attempts to achieve a negotiated solution to the conflict, namely that of two states, Israel and Palestine existing side by side in peace within internationally recognised borders. South Africa emphasises that the issue of Jerusalem is one of the final status issues that needs to be part of a negotiated solution to the conflict in the Middle East.
The actions on the part of Israel are in opposition to the will of the international community as expressed in United Nations Security Council resolutions 242, 338, 1515 as well as the Arab Peace Initiative. We condemn the fact that Israeli settlement expansion in East Jerusalem is coupled with Israel’s campaign to evict and displace the original Palestinian residents from the City.
South Africa stresses that these actions on the part of Israel jeopardise the prospects of resuming peace talks aimed at arriving at a final settlement to the conflict. South Africa is deeply concerned that these activities by Israel will only serve only to deepen the cycle of violence in the region. As an occupying power, Israel has specific and clear obligations under international law.
We call upon the Israeli government to cease their activities that are reminiscent of apartheid forced removals and resume negotiations immediately.
For more information contact Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Saul Kgomotso Molobi on 082 940 1647.
Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag x 152
24 November 2009.