(MENAFN- African Press Organization)
The South African Government joins the international community in commemorating the 44th United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, as well as renewing South Africa's shared commitment to a just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine. The question of Palestine is still unresolved after 70 years and continues to challenge human conscience and international justice.
In keeping with South Africa's long-term and principled support for the Palestinian People, the Government of South Africa remains committed to support initiatives aimed at refocusing the international agenda on Palestine and the Middle East Peace Process. The Palestinian question remains at the heart of the Middle East situation. The South African Government believes that the only way to bring about lasting peace in the Middle East, is to have a comprehensive and unconditional negotiated settlement to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and Israel's continued blockade of Gaza. The ongoing delay in achieving such a settlement leads to an unending cycle of violence.
South Africa also remains strongly critical of the ongoing defiance of the Government of Israel in refusing to halt the illegal settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem, thereby complicating any possible resumption of substantial negotiations. We therefore, on this day, once again call on Israel to stop its policy of settlement expansion, including in East Jerusalem, and to realise that the only way to achieve peace is through creating an environment for a two-state solution, where Israel will be able to exist side-by-side in peace with a viable and fully independent Palestinian state within internationally recognised borders, based on those of 4 June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
South Africa will further strengthen the bond of long-standing solidarity, friendship, and cooperation with Palestine and calls upon the international community to tirelessly work for the attainment of peace and provide strong humanitarian, economic and political support. Advocating for the rights of the Palestinian people must be accompanied by material and practical support.
It is the duty of the international community to satisfy the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian People. As former President Mandela once said,“we in South Africa can only really be free once our Palestinian brothers achieve their freedom”.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
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