Deep­en­ing ties

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

PALES­TINE Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas is in South Africa on a state visit. It’s a pres­ti­gious event, which sig­nif­i­cantly deep­ens ties be­tween South Africa and the Pales­tini­ans. Support for the hu­man rights and free­dom of the Pales­tini­ans is a pow­er­ful force for our coun­try, which has long been out­spo­ken on the is­sue. Nel­son Man­dela cham­pi­oned it from the start of his pres­i­dency, and the ANC and gov­ern­ment have not wa­vered since then.

Recog­ni­tion for the state­hood of Pales­tine is also grow­ing glob­ally, with 138 coun­tries al­ready hav­ing de­clared their al­le­giance. South Africa is, of course, on that world map of proud sup­port­ers. And to­day, the EU par­lia­ment takes state­hood to a his­toric vote, which an­a­lysts be­lieve will have a pos­i­tive out­come for Pales­tine. France takes the sub­ject to a vote in its Na­tional Assem­bly to­mor­row.

Mean­while, Ab­bas and his party, Fatah, are in­volved in se­ri­ous re­uni­fi­ca­tion ef­forts with Ha­mas – a dra­matic bond which the world sup­ports.

Sol­i­dar­ity is vi­tal. It’s painful to imag­ine what could have hap­pened had the world turned its back on apartheid South Africa. Its embrace of the lib­er­a­tion of black South Africans and its boy­cott and sanc­tions cam­paigns took very ef­fec­tive hold, un­til the regime fi­nally had to give up.

We trust this state visit will be most fruit­ful.

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