7 December 2017

Africa: South Africa's Position On Unilateral Decision Taken By United States to Recognise Jerusalem As Capital of Israel

press release

South Africa's position on the unilateral decision taken by the United States to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel which undermines Middle East Peace Process

South Africa maintains a principled position that unilateralism threatens the global balance of power, security and stability in a relatively volatile environment. International cooperation, dialogue and consultation is therefore critical to ensure peaceful interaction among states.

South Africa is deeply concerned that unilateral action by the United States undermines progress that has been registered within the context of Middle East Peace Process (MEPP). We believe that the MEPP seeks to secure a lasting sustainable peace between the State of Israel and the State of 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 South African Government 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.

South Africa recalls 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 the United States. With this, South Africa recalls 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.

South Africa continues to believe that the best option for the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict is premised upon:

(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 calls upon the government of the United States of America to reconsider its decision to relocate its Embassy to Israel to East Jerusalem as such a move compromises and undermines the principles of a two state solution based on peaceful coexistence between the peoples of Israel and Palestine.

Issued by: Department of International Relations and Cooperation

South Africa

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