ANC sup­ports the op­pressed in Pales­tine

The Star Early Edition - - INSIDE -

THE CON­TIN­UED mis­char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion in the pub­lic space of last week’s in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the ANC and a vis­it­ing Is­raeli politi­cian is un­for­tu­nate. Re­gret­tably the truth has be­come the first ca­su­alty as some seek to in­fer that the ANC’s sup­port for the Pales­tinian cause is wa­ver­ing.

It has be­come nec­es­sary to clar­ify the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the above-men­tioned en­gage­ment to cor­rect mis­in­for­ma­tion be­ing dis­sem­i­nated by cer­tain sec­tors of so­ci­ety who seek to in­cor­rectly as­cribe some kind of ex­tra­or­di­nary sta­tus to what was an un­planned, un­sched­uled chance en­counter. Mat­ters have not been helped by the Is­raeli em­bassy in South Africa which mis­chie­vously de­scribed the en­gage­ment as “in­ter-min­is­te­rial”.

The of­fice of the Is­raeli Min­is­ter of Re­gional Co-op­er­a­tion Tzachi Hanegbi also called it “the first min­is­te­rial meet­ings be­tween Is­rael and the South African gov­ern­ment in five years”.

Both char­ac­ter­i­sa­tions are re­gret­table. Last week, a del­e­ga­tion from the South African Jewish Board of Deputies vis­ited the ANC’s Joburg head of­fices for a mat­ter un­known. They were ac­com­pa­nied by Mr Hanegbi as well as the new Is­raeli am­bas­sador to South Africa, Lior Keinan.

A draft­ing team com­pris­ing mem­bers of the ANC’s in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions sub-com­mi­tee hap­pened to be meet­ing in the build­ing at the same time – to prepare for the ANC’s na­tional con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber. In line with the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s nor­mal op­er­a­tional im­per­a­tives, a task team had been set up to con­duct an analysis of rec­om­men­da­tions made at the re­cently held na­tional pol­icy con­fer­ence . Among other things, the task team was con­sid­er­ing rec­om­men­da­tions made in re­la­tion to the pos­si­ble down­grade/ shut­down and the sta­tus quo of the South African em­bassy in Is­rael.

A last-minute re­quest to meet with the team was ac­com­mo­dated.

Mem­bers of the task team be­gan the meet­ing by re­it­er­at­ing the ANC’s po­si­tion – namely its com­mit­ment to see a free Pales­tine and for an end to the oc­cu­pa­tion. This is not a po­si­tion that is ar­tic­u­lated be­hind closed doors; it is well-known and well-doc­u­mented, and is both prin­ci­pled and con­sis­tent.

As it would have been ex­pected, the vis­it­ing del­e­ga­tion ex­pressed its con­cerns (ob­vi­ously not for the first time) around the rec­om­men­da­tion by the NPC re­gard­ing the South African em­bassy in Is­rael – and a ro­bust en­gage­ment took place.

It was put to the del­e­ga­tion that only the ANC’s na­tional con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber would take a fi­nal res­o­lu­tion on the mat­ter. The vis­it­ing del­e­ga­tion was fur­ther ad­vised that if they so wished, they could sub­mit writ­ten in­puts to the task team on this is­sue as well as on other mat­ters to­wards the ANC na­tional con­fer­ence.

For­mer ANC pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela rightly called the Pales­tinian strug­gle “the great­est moral is­sue of our time” – and the or­gan­i­sa­tion has through­out its his­tory af­firmed its sup­port for Pales­tinian as­pi­ra­tions for an in­de­pen­dent state along the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its cap­i­tal.

As the 53rd Na­tional Con­fer­ence of the ANC noted: “The ANC is un­equiv­o­cal in its sup­port for the Pales­tinian peo­ple in their strug­gle for self-de­ter­mi­na­tion, and un­apolo­getic in its view that the Pales­tini­ans are the vic­tims and the op­pressed in the con­flict with Is­rael.”

The ANC pol­icy on Pales­tine, which is be­ing op­er­a­tionalised by the South African gov­ern­ment, is in sup­port of the twostate so­lu­tion. The or­gan­i­sa­tion has through­out its his­tory re­mained stead­fast in its op­po­si­tion to the il­le­gal oc­cu­pa­tion of Pales­tinian land; to land seizures; to de­ten­tions with­out trial and ex­tra-ju­di­cial killings; and to the ex­pan­sion of set­tle­ments, es­pe­cially in the oc­cu­pied West Bank.

The ANC has con­sis­tently and will con­tinue to speak out against what the 2007 Polok­wane con­fer­ence res­o­lu­tion called “a sys­tem­atic pol­icy of colo­nial ex­pan­sion, eth­nic cleans­ing and mil­i­tary oc­cu­pa­tion of the most bru­tal kind, which as South Africans we read­ily recog­nise from our own ex­pe­ri­ence of apartheid”.

The ANC re­mains com­mit­ted to play­ing a con­struc­tive role in the Mid­dle East peace process, and as such reaf­firms the need to en­gage: di­rectly where need be, with ac­tors across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum in both Is­rael and Pales­tine – mainly through the gov­ern­ment.

Our gov­ern­ment, through the De­part­ment of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and Co-op­er­a­tion, has con­sis­tently called for a just and last­ing so­lu­tion to the Is­rael/ Pales­tine ques­tion – and has en­gaged the par­ties through the pres­i­dent’s spe­cial en­voys.

Our gov­ern­ment fur­ther­more con­tin­ues to em­pha­sise its com­mit­ment to mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism in or­der to en­sure last­ing peace and se­cu­rity in the re­gion.

We have since 1994 played a role in sup­port­ing peace ef­forts by among other things “shar­ing our ne­go­ti­at­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, sup­port­ing ca­pac­ity build­ing and strength­en­ing in­sti­tu­tions in Pales­tine it­self, pro­vid­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance through sup­port to UN Re­lief and Works Agency, and fa­cil­i­tat­ing in­ter-Pales­tinian di­a­logue”.

In the words of Inkosi Al­bert Luthuli at the open­ing of the 42nd Con­fer­ence of the ANC in 1953: “Our in­ter­est in free­dom is not con­fined to our­selves only.

“We are in­ter­ested in the lib­er­a­tion of all op­pressed peo­ple in the whole of Africa and in the world as a whole… our ac­tive in­ter­est in the ex­ten­sion of free­dom to all peo­ple de­nied it, makes us ally our­selves with free­dom forces in the world.”

That we should en­gage with po­lit­i­cal ac­tors across the di­vide can­not be taken to mean that our sup­port for the Pales­tini­ans is any less.

ANC pol­icy is in sup­port of the two-state so­lu­tion

Molewa is chair­per­son of the ANC’s in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions sub­com­mit­tee

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.