Political Negotiations between Israel and Palestine and the Disunity of the Palestinian People

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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

 FOR ORAL REPLY

QUESTION NO:  20

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 8 OF 11 AUGUST 2009

Mr M B Skosana (IFP) to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation:

(1) Whether the disunity of the Palestinian people was found to be a major impediment to the political negotiations between Israel and Palestine; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, on what were such findings based;

(2) Whether she will assist in bringing about the national unity of the Palestinian people; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?            

REPLY:

1. The position of the South African Government has been that the current divide between Fatah and Hamas is an impediment to political negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in that any final political solution to the conflict has to have the support of the major political formations in Palestine, including Hamas. Whilst Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas can negotiate with Israel as he is the President of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), the current divide between the Fatah controlled West Bank and Hamas controlled Gaza makes any final negotiated solution to the conflict difficult to implement. 

2. The South African Representative Office in Ramallah continues to engage with PNA/PLO and Fatah as well, in the course of normal diplomatic practices, with Hamas in an effort to promote national unity in Palestine. Our Government encourages both formations to form a National Unity Government until new elections can be held in Palestine. South Africa also continues to encourage the unity of the Palestinian people through and within international forums such as the United Nations Security Council and the Non-Aligned Movement.

   
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