The Inkatha Freedom Party has always maintained that a negotiated two–state solution, consistent with the 1967 borders, is the only way to effectively address and advance the peace process in the Middle East.
The decision by the South African Government to ‘downgrade’ the South African Embassy in Israel to a liaison office is regressive diplomacy which does not advance the agenda of peace and stability in the Middle East.
Moreover it is a decision that is nothing more than short term ‘electioneering’ on the part of the ANC without giving due consideration as to how this will impact South Africa in the long term in respect of not only maintaining a neutral two-state solution stance, but also in respect of South Africa’s beneficial trade, development and investment relationship with Israel.
In the year that South Africa has assumed a seat on the UN Security Council it is regrettable that the government chooses to agitate the situation with reckless and irresponsible diplomatic decisions.
The downgrading of the South African Embassy in Israel does not inspire confidence and places South Africa in an awkward position wherein it can no longer be trusted as an honest broker, particularly when South Africa’s influence is most needed.
The IFP further believes that no good will come from this ill-fated decision by government and that it will only compound tensions in the region. We maintain our position and call for calm, restraint and peaceful action within the prescripts of international law by both Israel and Palestine.
The IFP accordingly urges government to reconsider its position as regards the ‘downgrading’ of diplomatic ties between South Africa and Israel.
Mkhuleko Hlengwa MP
IFP National Spokesperson
071 111 0539