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.