Non Aligned Movement (NAM) Committee on Palestine Meeting in Ramallah

The South African government expresses its disappointment and regret that the NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) Committee on Palestine was prevented from holding a special meeting in Ramallah by the Israeli government. The 13 Member Committee, comprising Algeria, Bangladesh, Cuba, Colombia, Egypt, India, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Indonesia and Malaysia was scheduled to travel from Amman, Jordan on the 5th August 2012, to Ramallah.

The decision to hold a Special Meeting in Ramallah was taken at the last NAM Ministerial meeting held in Sharm-El Sheikh, Egypt May 10th 2012. The South African delegation was led by Minister of Public Works, Mr Thulas Nxesi, supported by the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Ebrahim Ebrahim, with South Africa’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN, Advocate: Doc Mashabane.

The Israeli government blocked the Committee from entering Palestine on the pretext that four of the member nations of the committee do not have diplomatic relations with Israel -this despite the fact that the meeting was to take place in Palestine. This would not have been the first time that the Committee held its special meeting in Ramallah since it did so in 2002, with all its members allowed entry. The Committee issued a statement condemning the actions of Israel as occupying power:

“The Committee strongly condemns this blatant action by Israel. It is a flagrant violation of the principles of international law and of Israel’s obligations as the Occupying Power. This Israeli action highlights once again to NAM and to the whole international community the plight of the Palestinian people in their struggle to achieve full independence on their Territory occupied since June 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The Committee deeply abhors the fact that it was unable to demonstrate its solidarity with the Palestinian people by holding its meeting in Ramallah. This Israeli action only strengthens NAM’s resolve to assist the Palestinian People in their legitimate quest for dignity, and their inalienable right to statehood.

The Committee calls upon the NAM Coordinating Bureau in New York to consider this serious incident further and take appropriate actions”.

The South African government will continue to work within the NAM Committee on Palestine to highlight the plight of the Palestinians. South Africa remains steadfast in its conviction that the Palestinian struggle is a legitimate struggle for self-determination, justice and freedom. The action of the Israeli government does not assist in the international community’s quest for a permanent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian question. South Africa looks forward to the next meeting of the NAM Committee on Palestine to be held during the Movement’s Summit in Tehran, Iran from 26 to 31st August 2012.

Issued in Pretoria, OR Tambo Building by DIRCO

460 Soutpansberg Road

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