Demonising Israel not helping - SAJBD
Cape Town - Demonising Israel makes no contribution to the Middle East peace process, SA Jewish Board of Deputies national chairperson Mary Kluk said on Wednesday.
"As Jewish South Africans, we long for a day when the people in Israel and Palestine can resolve their differences through meaningful dialogue so that they can live in peace side by side with secure borders," Kluk said.
She was addressing a symposium on the Middle East conflict hosted by Parliament's international relations and co-operation portfolio committee.
Kluk said: "We have seen the miracle of transformation in our own country and we know that situations that seem hopeless and desperate can indeed change and can result in parties coming together."
South Africans knew this process was not simple.
It came through the hard work of parties sitting around a table, trying to understand each other's insecurities and anxieties.
The challenge was for both sides to see the situation from the perspective of the other partner in the negotiation, Kluk said.
To overcome these obstacles, the parties themselves needed to work through painful and difficult issues so that they could constructively develop solutions.
"So the many initiatives that are constantly arising to demonise Israel make no constructive contribution to the peace process," Kluk said.
"They in no way encourage the parties to come to the table to work towards a negotiated settlement. All they do is polarise the two sides drawing a wedge between them that makes dialogue harder and harder to embark on."
Boycotts, sanctions, pseudo-legal tribunals, and apartheid and nazi comparisons did nothing more than detract from the critical objective which was to bring the parties together to find a solution for transformation.
"We should never be seen to impose solutions on another conflict," Kluk said.
"This has been our government's foreign affairs and international relations and co-operation policy since our democracy."
Kluk called on government to encourage the parties to work together towards building a sustainable peace in which the two-state solution was completed with a viable Palestinian state existing side by side with the Jewish state as its neighbour.