Statement by Deputy Minister Ebrahim on the Palestinian/Israeli Situation
South Africa continues to support international efforts to assist the people of Palestine and Israel in finding lasting peace in the context of the two state solution.
The Government’s policy position on the situation in Palestine is informed by South Africa’s history of apartheid, oppression and abuse of human rights.
The Government of South Africa has since 1994 consistently supported the Palestinian cause whilst increasingly putting pressure on Israel at a bilateral and multilateral level with a view to finding a just and lasting solution.
We have full diplomatic relations with Israel and recognise the State of Israel within the borders demarcated by the United Nations (UN) in 1948. Such demarcated borders of Israel by the UN do not include Palestinian Territories occupied after 1967.
South Africa deplores any actions that do not assist in the international community’s quest for a permanent solution to the Israeli - Palestinian question.
Furthermore, South Africa continues to strongly oppose the blockade of Gaza, its inaccessibility with respect to humanitarian aid, and the general dire humanitarian and human rights situation that this causes.
Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said “We continue to encourage a just solution with respect to the right of return of Palestinian refugees. Our support to the Palestinian cause includes operational and practical support through capacity-building, intergovernmental cultural exchange programmes, as well as international aid and development projects in the West Bank and Gaza”.
The struggle for liberation in South Africa benefited from international support and solidarity and we call upon South Africans to support the struggle of the Palestinian people.
Deputy Minister further said “It’s the democratic right of every South African to visit any country of their choice and have freedom of movement and association however we have expressed concern by high profile and government institutions visits to Israel as it gives legitimacy to Israel occupation of Palestine land. We remain steadfast in our conviction that the Palestinian struggle is a legitimate struggle for self-determination, justice and freedom and must be supported”.
South Africa fully supports the position of the Palestinian Authority to seek UN membership for the State of Palestine. It is a decisive step towards achieving lasting peace, economic cooperation and prosperity for millions of people living in the Middle East.
In October 2011, South Africa and other IBSA (India, Brazil, and South Africa) countries opened an IBSA-funded Sports Stadium in Ramallah.
South Africa contributes financially to towards the activities of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA). The latest contribution for 2012 amounted to US$ 243 457. South Africa has provided diplomatic training to Palestinian officials as part of its capacity-building project for this emerging State.
The Government of South Africa’s policy position on the Middle East Peace Process has thus remained consistent since 1994.
South Africa remains committed to a peaceful solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and supporting international efforts aimed at the establishment of a viable Palestinian State.