DIRCO "seized" with resolution to downgrade SA’s embassy in Israel

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation says it is seized with the matter of downgrading SA’s embassy in Israel, Deputy Minister Luwellyn Landers said on Tuesday.

The Deputy Minister said this when the Peace and Security Cluster appeared before the National Council of Provinces to answer questions.

ANC Gauteng Member of Parliament, Edwin Makue, had asked what the recent developments were regarding closure or the downgrade of the Israeli Embassy in South Africa and the South African Embassy in Israel.

This comes after the ANC passed a resolution at its 54th conference in December to downgrade its SA’s Embassy office in Ramat Gan in the Tel Aviv District after Israel’s continued reluctance to recognise a two-state solution with Palestine.

“With regards to the question of the Israeli Embassy in South Africa, that is a matter for the government of Israel to decide upon and not the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

“With regards to the rest of the questions, all resolutions of the 54th Conference of the ANC have been referred to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and is presently being processed in line with the department’s annual performance plan.

“The resolution referred to will also have to serve before the relevant sub-committees of the ruling party.

“DIRCO is therefore ceased with this matter and we look to be guided by Cabinet on the way forward,” he said.

With several states in the United Nations taking a firm stance on a two-state solution, South Africa also holds the same position.

A two-state solution refers to a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which calls for "two states for two groups of people".

This kind of solution envisions that there must be an independent State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel, west of the Jordan River.

The boundary between the two states is still subject to dispute and negotiation, with Palestinian and Arab leadership insisting on the "1967 borders", which is not accepted by Israel.

The Deputy Minister said the department continues to be seized with the matter.

“We are monitoring the situation very closely and we are looking for every opportunity to ensure that the ANC’s resolution on the two-state solution can be propelled forward,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za