Tuesday, June 26, 2007

South Africa:
"We cannot be indifferent to the daily suffering, humiliation and dehumanisation of the Palestinian people."

"Zuma speaks up against Palestine invasion"


Jacob Zuma, the ANC deputy president.

The illegal military occupation of Palestinian land by Israel is a deep concern, says Zuma

June 24, 2007, 14:15

The illegal military occupation of Palestinian land by Israel and the building of illegal settlement on occupied territory was a deep concern, Jacob Zuma, the African National Congress (ANC) deputy president, said at the weekend.

"The building of the apartheid wall, which aims to de facto extend the Israeli borders and imprison large sections of the Palestinian population into prisons, is calculated to destroy Palestinian family and economic life, and entrap a whole nation into a life of poverty and dispossession," he said.

He said that South Africa, as a country that had experienced racism, will be failing its international duty if it did not condemn the Israeli government and its "many international backers for the brutal oppression" of the Palestinian people. "We cannot be indifferent to the daily suffering, humiliation and dehumanisation of the Palestinian people.”We need to intensify our campaign and join the growing voices of condemnation around the globe and the call for people to take concrete action to register our abhorrence at the actions of the Israeli government," Zuma said.

Zuma said the ANC had passed "strongly worded resolutions" calling on Israel to immediately withdraw from all occupied Palestinian territory. "Israel has ignored all international laws and conventions which were put in place after the atrocities of the Second World War to prevent the very type of situations that exist in Israel today.

Conflict exacerbates tensions
"In recent months, the internecine conflict between groups within Palestine has exacerbated tensions in the region... this conflict is not helpful to the fundamental problem between Palestine and Israel," he said. He said the conflict undermined the support provided to the Palestinian people by the international community. "It also creates difficulties for those around the world acting in solidarity to identify which grouping to support. If they act as a united front, they are stronger and able to unite international support.... while we condemn Israel, we equally condemn the divisions among the Palestinians because we would certainly love to support the united people of Palestine,” he said.

While Zuma stated that it would be easier to support a united Palestine, Tony Leon, the former Democratic leader and current spokesperson on foreign affairs, accused the ANC of taking sides in supporting one of two Palestinian factions. “The department of foreign affairs has once again put the ANC’s party political agenda ahead of its proper and correct duty as government by supporting the Hamas insurgents over the legitimate Fatah-led national unity government in Palestine," he said in a statement today.

Twisted logic
He said this following an objection to a draft proposal condemning the violence in the Gaza Strip by Dumisani Khumalo, the SA ambassador to the United Nations security council. "South Africa's opposition to the resolution appears to be premised on the fact that the new emergency government was not legitimate. The decision represents another example of the twisted logic that the department of foreign affairs uses in the Middle East... where insurgents and terrorists are friends and allies of a government that purports to espouse the importance of democracy and human rights abroad," he said.

Leon said SA's support of "those practising violence and those thwarting democracy in the cauldron of Palestine is a patent contradiction of stated government police and a usurpation of common sense". - Sapa

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