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Cape Town Declaration fizzles (we hope)

"I am so reassured with this outcome," said Wendy Kahn today, "we felt that we were heard." But it didn’t just happen. It took 4 weeks of hard lobbying, tough politicking, & an ever-widening chasm between the ANC as a party and the Government, a so-called family-feud between ideology and pragmatism – to reduce a horrible 15 points targeted at SA Jewry & complete financial sanctions of Israel, to seven mildly annoying points...
by ANT KATZ | Mar 05, 2014

And, finally, the "Cape Town Declaration" was today watered down to the extent that everyone who has been fighting against it – now wants to see it go through the current Parliament before they finally rise next Friday.

The report and minutes which comprised the AGENDA OF TODAY’S MEETING show for the first time the wording that was proposed by the ‘Solidarity Conference’ which was approved in its entirety with the addition of the recording by the ACDP that it distanced itself from the original conference declaration.

A thrilled Board national executive director Wendy Kahn (Pictured above left) spoke to Jewish Report as her flight was taking off from Cape Town today – in victorious spirits. "I am so reassured with this outcome," said Wendy, "we felt that we were heard – we really believe that they (The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for International Relations and Cooperation) included support for the current peace process," she said.

Dudley - CheryllynThe original Cape Town Declaration of an historic Committee conference on 6 February had tabled 15 harsh sanctions on Israel and SA Jewry. This has now been whittled down to seven points that the community can live with.

Cheryllyn Dudley (MP, ACDP, Right) who has fought every step of the way against this declaration, told Jewish Report after the Portfolio Committee meeting, that "overall there has been a huge victory!" But she said, it wasn’t because of what happened today: "This battle has been won due to all that has happened since 6 February," she said. The lobbying of SA Jewry and political parties had been intense, said Dudley, and she praised Wendy Kahn’s efforts in particular.

In effect, what will be tabled in, and most likely approved by, Parliament next week regarding the SA Government’s policy on Palestine will read as follows:

(a) Recall and reaffirm (previous House Resolutions)

(b) Reaffirm our commitment to the creation of a sovereign independent and viable Palestinian State, existing side by side with and in peace with the State of Israel, within Internationally recognised borders based on those existing on 4 June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

(c) Commend the UN General Assembly for proclaiming 2014 as the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian people and support their decision to request the Committee on the Exercise of Inalienable Rights to organise solidarity activities in cooperation with the UN, governments, parliaments, intergovernmental organisations and civil society organisations throughout the world.

(d) Reiterate our support for a negotiated solution and express our hope and support for the current round of negotiations will (sic) deliver on the Aspirations of the Palestinian people.

(e) Continue to mobilise all sectors of the South African population behind the Palestinian cause.

(f) Support Government’s decision to actively support Palestinian reconciliation and unity efforts.

(g) Continue to intensify solidarity efforts with the view of (sic) strengthening the Palestinian struggle against the illegal and brutal occupation.


A far cry from the original

This is a far cry from the original Cape Town Declaration of 6 February which put a shiver up the spines of local Jewry and has been the talk of the community ever since.

That recommendation read as follows:

After the engaging debates on the Palestinian question, the following resolutions emanated from the group/commission:

1. South Africa has a legal obligation under the Rome Statute to set up a special court to deal with war crimes, which needed to be urgently setup. South Africa should expeditiously deal with the "Gaza Docket" and deal with South Africans serving in the Israeli Defence Force;

2. The 2009 Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) report that found Israeli guilty of Apartheid should be adopted by Parliament and by the South African government. The HSRC report should also be referred to international bodies including the International Parliamentary Union, the International Criminal Court, the United Nations and the African Union.

3. South Africa has a legal obligation and should stop all financial transactions with Israeli settlement companies, as well as banks and companies involved in the Israeli settlements. This would be in line with developments in Europe and other countries.

4. On the global arena, South Africa should lobby for the financial and other support of the Palestinians, for socioeconomic development after the end of the illegal Israeli occupation.

5. The South African government should support allow Palestinian students to study in South Africa, as a concrete act of solidarity, similar to how India, Cuba and other countries supported South Africa during the 1980s.

6. Entrance requirements into South Africa for Palestinians should be made easier.

7. The Palestinian health system should be supported beyond people capacity. Infrastructure in Gaza, West Bank and refugee camps should be supported.

8. The solidarity conference should support the Robben Island Declaration for the freedom of Marwan Barghouti and all Palestinian political prisoners.

9. The conference should support the Palestinian-led call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) issued by the majority of Palestinians. Complete military, financial and political sanctions should be applied against Israel until it complies with all applicable United Nations resolutions and international law and ends its occupation.

10. All South African political parties should clearly communicate their stance on the plight of the Palestinian people and make it timeously known in the build-up to 2014 elections.

11. Witness and solidarity visits to Palestine should be encouraged, for example, through the World Council of Churches EAPPI programme.

12. South Africa should build and strengthen an international diplomatic block in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

13. The South African government and Parliament should campaign for Israel to be suspended from the SWIFT banking network.

14. Palestinian reconciliation efforts should be encouraged and supported.

15. The South African government and Parliament should table the above at the African Union, United Nations and Inter-parliamentary Union.

Today’s declaration had three votes against (two DA and one ACDP), one abstention (IFP) and the seven remaining members voted in favour.

 
 

C/Town Declaration: Related reads on SAJR:

6 FEB: Convention and unofficial wording of CT Declaration

12 FEB: Board & Fed angered by Cape Town Declaration

12 FEB: SA calls for extreme measures to cripple Israel

19 FEB: Is ACDP Israel’s only SA political ally?

20 FEB: DA’s Bergman responds on “Cape Town Declaration”

23 FEB: Cape Town Declaration to be adopted Wed?

24 FEB: “Our MP (Bill Eloff DA) went rogue” – Darren Bergman
 
26 FEB: Cape Town Declaration a shambles

26 FEB: The face of a passionate Christian Zionist

Election: Related reads, downloads on SAJR:


ACDP ELECTION MANIFESTO
ACDP ELECTION MANIFESTO LIGHT

ANC ELECTION MANIFESTO

DA ELECTION MANIFESTO
DA ELECTION MANIFESTO LIGHT

EFF ELECTION MANIFESTO

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