Press Release

16 July 2014

Israeli Ambassador to South Africa summoned to DIRCO

The Ambassador of the State of Israel to South Africa, Mr Arthur Lenk, was summoned to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) today, 16 July 2014, where Deputy Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo expressed South Africa’s grave concern over the escalation of violence between Israel and Palestinian territories, which has resulted in the loss of civilian life and the destruction of property in Gaza.

Through Ambassador Lenk, the South African Government called on the State of Israel to immediately cease its air strikes into the Gaza Strip, allow safe and free passage of civilians and make it possible for humanitarian organisations to work on alleviating the suffering of victims of the violence.

Deputy Minister Mfeketo told Ambassador Lenk that the South African Government strongly opposes any threat of ground invasion and urged the State of Israel to refrain from making utterances that may worsen the situation.

The Deputy Minister stressed that South Africa is opposed to any attempt to use the current situation to undermine the Unity Government in Palestine whose advent was warmly welcomed by peace-loving people the world over.

In this regard, the South African Government also urged the State of Israel to engage in serious and genuine negotiations with the Palestinians to permanently resolve the ongoing impasse.

In addition, South Africa demanded that Israeli authorities lift all restrictions to the importation of building material and equipment into the Gaza Strip to enable destitute families and the Gaza Administration to re-build homes and infrastructure destroyed by the current and previous Israeli acts of aggression in Palestine.

Deputy Minister Mfeketo reiterated the South African Government’s call on both Israeli and Palestinian leaders to immediately resume negotiations leading to a two-state solution with a viable Palestinian State existing side by side and in peace with Israel within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders based on the 4 June 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

“The South African Government also demands the immediate halt to the construction and expansion of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories by the Israeli Government, which violates international law, gravely undermines peace efforts, and threatens the viability of the two-State solution,” said Deputy Minister Mfeketo.

In response, Ambassador Lenk explained the State of Israel’s position in the conflict and stated that he would convey the South African Government’s message to his Government.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, 082 884 5974.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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