Govt responds on Goldstone report

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pretoria - Government has noted the reactions to and criticisms of the report compiled by South African Justice Richard Goldstone on the situation in Gaza.

This followed his three-month long investigation, which ended in December 2008, into attacks by Israel on Palestine.

Justice Goldstone was appointed to head the United Nations fact-finding mission into the Gaza conflict.

Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Ebrahim Ebrahim said: "the South African government has studied this report in detail and without equivocation endorses the findings and recommendations therein.

"The South African government reiterates its full confidence in Justice Goldstone recalling the prominent role he played in South Africa's transition to democracy.

"Justice Goldstone, having worked on many other international issues, is reputed for his credibility as well as high regard and respect for human rights."

The deputy minister maintained: "the view of the South African government that both the Israelis and Palestinians must refrain from violence and return to the negotiating table to turn the vision of a secure Israel and a secure Palestine existing side by side within the 1967 borders, with east Jerusalem as its capital, into a reality.

"This resonates with the Non-Alignment Movement's position on the conflict in the Middle East."

He said the South African government urges all detractors to desist from criticism of the report, work towards reinvigorating the Middle East Peace Process and encouraging both sides to engage in immediate negotiations.