Pandor’s Parliament push to cut Israeli ties ‘cautiously welcomed’

By Al Qalam Reporter

The Media Review Network has “cautiously welcomed statements by the Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, that South Africa was to forge ahead in implementing the resolution adopted at the ANC’s Elective Conference in December calling upon the country to downgrade its embassy in Israel to a mere Liaison Office.

Speaking in Parliament recently, Pandor said “the majority party has agreed that government must cut diplomatic ties with Israel, given the absence of genuine initiatives by Israel to secure lasting peace and a viable two-state solution that includes full freedom and democracy for the Palestinian people”.

Dr Ahmed Haroon Jazbhay, an Executive Member of the Media Review Network, said in a statement that the ANC have always been outspoken advocates of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination of the Palestinian people. He said pro-Palestinian organisations have applauded such overt support.

“However, the obstacle has always been translating such rhetorical support at the party level into meaningful action at the level of national government such as downgrading South Africa’s embassy in Tel Aviv and cutting off diplomatic ties with the world’s last remaining apartheid outpost.

“Pro-Israeli lobby groups such as the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the South African Zionist Federation have been fighting the possible embassy downgrade by attempting to take advantage of the drought affecting Cape Town.

“It has endeavoured to sell its supposed desalination technology to the Western Cape Government whilst depriving indigenous Palestinians of the same technology and access to sufficient clean water – redolent of the tactics practiced by the apartheid government in South Africa,” he said.

The Media Review Network called on the African government to resist such opportunistic attempts, and to ensure that this time “it is serious” about implementing the resolution of the ruling ANC.
“Pandor’s call for isolating apartheid Israel must not, once again, be relegated to the realm of populist rhetoric”.

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