South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has expressed concern over United States President Donald Trump’s decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

“South Africa is deeply concerned that unilateral action by the United States undermines progress that has been registered within the context of Middle East Peace Process (MEPP). We believe that the MEPP seeks to secure a lasting sustainable peace between the State of Israel and the State of Palestine,” Dirco said in a press release.

“The decision to relocate the US Embassy to East Jerusalem is regrettable and is not constructive in advancing a sustainable solution in the MEPP.

Two-state solution

The Statement expressed South Africa’s support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian impasse.

“The South African Government remains in favour of a two-state solution for Palestine and Israel based on the international recognition and independence of the State of Palestine, based on the 4 June 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, with the peoples of Palestine and Israel existing peacefully side-by-side in two independent states,” said the Dirco statement.

 Best option

Dirco outlined what it believes the best option for the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict is premised upon:

(1) The inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and independence, which entails a principled position against the military occupation of the Palestinian people and their land;

(2) The right of both the peoples of Israel and Palestine to live side by side in peace in their own states, within internationally recognised borders;

(3) A belief that there can be no military solution to the conflict and that peaceful negotiation is the only means of ensuring lasting peace, security and stability; and

(4) A commitment to multilateralism in order to secure a sustainable solution and a rules-based international order.

“South Africa calls upon the government of the United States of America to reconsider its decision to relocate its Embassy to Israel to East Jerusalem as such a move compromises and undermines the principles of a two-state solution based on peaceful coexistence between the peoples of Israel and Palestine,” concluded the statement.

Condemnation

Meanwhile, the governing African National Congress (ANC) has condemned the decision and is to discuss a proposal for the possible downgrading or complete closure of the South African Embassy in Israel as part of the ANC’s future international policy.

ANC alliance partner Cosatu has also weighed in, describing the decision as outrageous.

 “The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) strongly condemns the reckless and provocative decision by USA President Donald Trump to formally recognise the city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” stated a press release from the trade federation.

“This outrageous decision is further proof of the level of deterioration of the Trump Administration and the American political system as a whole.

“Donald Trump’s decision also violates International Law and should be opposed by all peace loving people,” added Cosatu, which together with the ANC and South African Communist Party, forms the tripartite alliance.

According to Cosatu, Trump’s decision represents “a nail in the coffin to any prospects of a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestine situation and will also act to inflame religious tensions because Jerusalem is a sacred place for Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

“The Americans have lost the little that was left of its moral standing because this decision will embolden the apartheid state of Israel to continue with its backward and barbaric policies against Palestinians,” said the union.

EFF too

Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party was unsparing in its condemnation of the move:

“The EFF condemns the reactionary US President Donald Trump on his declaration recognising Jerusalem as the capital city of apartheid Israel.

“We join the international community in expressing disgust at this declaration which serves as ground for the total annihilation of Palestine and its people,” read the statement.

“Trump has essentially given license to the project of illegally forced removals that have been taking place in East Jerusalem by Israel. His declaration is also in violation of international law and many UN resolutions regarding a two-state solution,” added the EFF.

The EFF called on the international community, in particular the European Union, to reject Trump’s pronouncement and “force Israel to end its illegal occupation of Palestine through boycotts, disinvestments and sanctions.”

Protests

Dozens of people were injured in the West Bank on Thursday as Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli security forces over US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision on Jerusalem.

Both Israelis and Palestinians claim the holy city as their capital.

The Red Crescent said 49 people were injured in the protests, in which Israeli security officers fired what appeared to be rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon at demonstrators in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Ramallah, as well as other towns. Protesters in Ramallah were seen setting tires alight and throwing rocks at armed Israeli officers.

Hamas calls for Palestinian uprising

As the protests took place, the leader of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas called for a new “intifada” or uprising.

Ismail Haniyeh said in Gaza that Israel’s policies supported by the United States “could only be confronted by a renewed intifada against the occupation” and he described the US-Israeli alliance “satanic.”

“Palestine will not be divided and the whole of Palestine and the whole of Jerusalem are the property of the Palestinian people,” he said.

NP/With Agency reports

 

 

 

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