Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital undermines peace process

Friday, December 8, 2017

The South African government on Thursday expressed concern over the announcement by the United States recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday his official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and instructed moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The move was universally condemned as illegal in terms of numerous decisions of the UN Security Council as well as under international treaties, including the Geneva Convention.

Responding to the announcement, the South African government said the announcement undermines progress that has been registered within the context of the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP), which it believes seeks to secure a lasting sustainable peace between Israel and Palestine.

“The decision to relocate the US Embassy to East Jerusalem is regrettable and is not constructive in advancing a sustainable solution in the MEPP,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said.

The South African government said it remains in favour of a two-state solution for Palestine and Israel based on the international recognition and independence of the State of Palestine based on the 4 June 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, with the peoples of Palestine and Israel existing peacefully side by side in two independent states.

In a statement, Pretoria recalled all United Nations Resolutions, of both the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), with particular attention to those resolutions that have a direct bearing on the unilateral decision taken by the United States.

“With this, South Africa recalled UNSC resolutions 181 of 1947, UNSC Resolution 242 of 1967 and subsequent resolutions 338, 465, 681, 1397, 1515 and 2334 of 2016.

“South Africa also recalls the positions of the Non-Aligned Movement and the international community in general, which include the outcomes of the various peace processes and initiatives the most recent being the French Initiative in 2016,” Dirco said.

South Africa has outlined what it believes are the best options for the conflict. These are:

(1) The inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and independence, which entails a principled position against the military occupation of the Palestinian people and their land;

(2) The right of both the peoples of Israel and Palestine to live side by side in peace in their own states, within internationally recognised borders;

(3) A belief that there can be no military solution to the conflict and that peaceful negotiation is the only means of ensuring lasting peace, security and stability; and

(4) A commitment to multilateralism in order to secure a sustainable solution and a rules-based international order.

South Africa has called upon the government of the United States of America to reconsider its decision to relocate its Embassy to Israel to East Jerusalem, as the move compromises and undermines the principles of a two-state solution based on peaceful coexistence between the peoples of Israel and Palestine. -

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