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DA’s Maimane unrepentant over THAT visit

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South Africa needs a foreign policy based on facts and principle, not friends and ideology, writes leader of the Democratic Alliance Mmusi Maimane in his regular newsletter.
by OWN CORRESPONDENT | Jan 26, 2017

He stressed that 2017 was a year to look outward “and fight harder than ever to promote liberal democracy and the protection of individual human rights worldwide. South Africa should play a leading role in foreign policy issues, but for years we have aligned ourselves with despots and human rights abusers around the world.

“We have squandered a wonderful opportunity to show the world what value South Africa can add.”

South Africa was unique in the world in having found a negotiated, peaceful solution to a seemingly intractable conflict. “We can harness it to play a proactive, constructive leadership role in opening communication channels between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, to help bring them together to negotiate a peaceful solution and an end to conflict. This is why a DA delegation visited Israel and Palestine earlier this month.

“Diplomacy cannot be based on propaganda or historical alliances of government. It must be rooted in the present and based on facts. To hear both sides of a story is not only a legal and moral principle, it is also a practical necessity. If you really want to know what is going on, do what Helen Suzman did and go see for yourself. This is exactly what we did.

“We went to Israel and Palestine to get the facts and to establish constructive relationships of trust with leaders on both sides of the conflict - and also to learn about innovation and trade opportunities in the region. In addition to political leaders, we met with members of the broader community of civil society, business people and religious leaders from both sides.”

Maimane said their meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was cancelled on the day they were scheduled to meet.

“Nevertheless, we visited the Palestinian Territories - both Gaza and the West Bank - to meet with other members of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, and to gather first-hand accounts and see for ourselves. We came away feeling much better informed, with renewed confidence in our position regarding this conflict and the role South Africa should be playing in resolving it.

“Essentially, we support an end to violence and a return to negotiation for a two-state solution. Above all, we call on all parties to respect human rights. We support open trade in the region and beyond. Our role is to encourage and enable constructive negotiation, not to pronounce on the specifics of the settlement - those are for the parties themselves to negotiate.”

Referring to the ANC’s criticism of the DA for visiting Israel, he wrote: “We reject this outright. You cannot hope to resolve conflict by breaking off relations and refusing to meet those involved. We make no apology whatsoever for visiting both Israel and Palestine.

“The ANC’s reaction to our visit is revealing. Without establishing the facts, they accused us of only visiting Israel. This is not only inaccurate, but downright hypocritical, given that an ANC government delegation from the Department of Water and Sanitation visited Israel in October 2016 - without visiting Palestine. The ANC’s policy of rejecting Israel and severing diplomatic ties is destructive and will only serve to amplify the bad blood between parties that desperately need to be able to engage constructively with one another. Nothing will be achieved until Mr (Benjamin) Netanyahu and Mr (Mahmoud) Abbas are able to talk to each other.”

 

5 Comments

  1. 5 Carol Haymann 26 Jan
    Congratulations Mr Maimane, for having the courage and wisdom to visit Israel to learn the facts first hand and not to rely on the twisted propaganda of the ruling party. Wishing you much success as the leader of the DA. 
  2. 4 nat cheiman 27 Jan
    The ANC don't get it. 
    Only Mercs BMW's Johnny Walker credit cards Rolexes and the corruption that goes with it.
    Accolades to the DA
  3. 3 Zerahiyah 02 Apr
    Wow! The smell of a well groomed puppet? 
  4. 2 Russell Fig 04 Aug
    Very good Mmusi this is good and practical keep up the good work. It is so unfortunate that so may South African blacks are emotional about the Middle East. It is emotionalism based on ignorace. I bet you that many of the ignorant South African blacks who support the Palestinians don't know the first thing about the Israeli Palestian conflict.

      You black South Africans aught to be grateful to us it is we jews who fought agaist the inequlity and opression that you endured during the Apartheid years. Is this how you ungrateful ignoramuses thank us?

      Follow sothing that is obective and just such as a leader like Mmusi Maimane insted on a Mampara like Julious Melema.

      If you continue to make anti Semetic remarks it is only go to drive more of us ( we Jews) away and the country is going to desintigrate. Wakeup while there is time before South Africa goes down the drain and becomes a third world country.
  5. 1 Russell Fig 04 Aug
    Part of the problem is the unbelivable ignorance of many black South Africans and other Africans. Keep up what you are doing  Mmusi

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