Statement by South Africa at the Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Committee on Palestine, delivered by Deputy Minister Luwellyn Landers – 5 April 2018

Mr Chair,

We would like to thank the Foreign Minister of the State of Palestine, our dear brother and comrade for the comprehensive briefing on the situation in Palestine and the Middle East in general.

I bring fraternal and revolutionary greetings to you and the members of this committee from our newly appointed Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Honourable Lindiwe Sisulu.

On behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa I would like to re affirm our unwavering commitment to the Palestinian peoples struggle for self - determination, freedom and justice.

During this centenary year of the birth of our founding father the late President Mandela we will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Palestine in your quest for emancipation and freedom.

As a committee we should start thinking about developing strategies that respond to the conditions that the Palestinians are subjected to on a daily basis. We cannot allow another year to proceed without progress on the Middle East Peace Process.

As South Africa we believe it is long overdue for the United Security Council to assume its responsibility under the UN Charter to maintain international peace and security. We should continue to put the UNSC to terms to fulfil their obligations towards the people of Palestine.

Mr Chair,

The South African government strongly condemns the latest act of violent aggression carried out by Israeli armed forces in Gaza, which has led to the deaths of about 17 Palestinian citizens, with scores of others reported injured.

South Africa reiterates its view that the Israeli Defence Force must withdraw from the Gaza Strip and bring to an end the violent and destructive incursions into Palestinian territories.

South Africa maintains further that the violence in the Gaza Strip will stand in the way of rebuilding Palestinian institutions and infrastructure.

The actions of the Israeli armed forces present yet another obstacle to a permanent resolution to the conflict, which must come in the form of two states, Palestine and Israel, existing side-by-side and in peace.

South Africa aligns itself with those members of the United Nations calling for an independent inquiry into the killings, with a view to holding to account those who are responsible.

Mr Chair

South Africa condemns the provocative actions by the United States to recognise Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel. This decision including some of the NAM member states undermines not only the unity and cohesion of our movement but also the Middle East peace process.

Mr Chair

South Africa wishes to highlight our concern of children in military detention in Israel. We are also concerned about the high rates of physical abuse, strip searches, the use of solitary confinement in the context of interrogations, as well as threats and verbal abuse. We are deeply troubled by the psychological and developmental harm to these young individuals.

Mr Chair

In conclusion South Africa would like to propose that:

1. The NAM should continue to emphasize that dialogue in support of a peaceful solution is the only viable option that can effectively address the conflict.

2. The NAM undertake a solidarity mission to Palestine in line with the decision we took in 2012. You would recall that an attempt was made then, however the Israeli government prevented our entry. In light of the current developments it may be an opportune moment to reactivate this decision.

3. We undertake a review of all the various initiatives and structures to ensure a more refocused and energised approach to the Palestinian Question.

I thank you.


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