Media Statement

14 August 2020

United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel Peace Agreement

The South African Government has noted with concern, the developments regarding the normalisation of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which took place on Thursday, 13 August 2020. Peace and stability in the Middle East, and particularly a sustainable solution regarding the plight of the Palestinian people, is of critical importance to South Africa.

While the UAE has the sovereign right to set its diplomatic relations with the government of Israel, it is regrettable that it has done so based on yet another agreement related to the fate of the Palestinian people without engaging the people of Palestine. Most of the world’s countries have called for a stop to the threats of annexation of the West Bank, as it would have been an act in contravention of international law. The agreement by three countries, the USA, the UAE and Israel instead posits that a temporary suspension of the annexation should be celebrated as a diplomatic break-through. The agreement, however, does not commit Israel to halting of plans to further extend Israeli sovereignty over Palestinian territories and its people. The agreement also, does not commit the government of Israel to negotiations guided by the internationally agreed parameters.

The concerns that the South African Government have in relation to the agreement made by the three countries was amplified by the comments made by Prime Minister Netanyahu in a televised address, following the announcement of the normalisation of relations with the UAE. Prime Minister Netanyahu stated that he remains committed to annexing parts of West Bank, and that he agreed to only “delay” further annexation.

South Africa notes the concerns expressed by the Palestinian leadership and wishes to express its conviction that any initiative aimed at a solution to the conflict, must take into account the needs and aspirations of the Palestinian people. In this regard, South Africa remains committed to the independence of Palestine under the two-state solution, based on the international recognition and independence of the viable State of Palestine, based on the 4 June 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, existing peacefully side by side with its neighbours. We hold that the outstanding final status issues must be resolved through negotiations between the parties, with support from the international community.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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