Media Statement

8 May 2021

Clashes between Israelis and Palestinians at Al-Aqsa Mosque

The South African Government expresses its deep concern at the continued clashes at Al-Aqsa Mosque wherein Israeli soldiers attacked Palestinian worshipers while praying at the holy site.

The South African Government strongly condemns the attacks and the planned evictions of Palestinians from annexed East Jerusalem to make way for Israeli settlements. We would like to reiterate that Israel's actions are in stark violation of international law, also a disregard of international humanitarian law and UN Security Council Resolutions, including Resolutions 446 (1979) and 2334 (2016). The latter Resolution explicitly calls for an end to Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and the fulfilment of the rights of the Palestinian people, including to self-determination and independence.

It is perplexing that during these unprecedented times, as the international community addresses the global challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. Israel is exploiting the situation to advance its de facto annexation of Palestinian land. These acts are not only illegal but also risk undermining the viability of a negotiated two-state solution and will have negative consequences on the entire peace process.

South Africa remains unequivocally committed to and values efforts aimed at reviving a political process, leading to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, existing side by side in peace with Israel within internationally recognised borders, based on those existing on 4 June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in compliance with all relevant UN Resolutions, international law and internationally agreed parameters.

South Africa reiterates that any peace plan should not allow Palestinian statehood to devolve into an entity devoid of sovereignty, territorial contiguity, and economic viability. In this regard, a solution must be premised on a just settlement with just laws that is rights-based and that facilitates equality and equity for all who have a right to live in the territories of Israel and Palestine. This includes sovereign equality between States.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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