Zuma urges halt to Israeli settlements as Abbas visits

2014-11-26 17:54
President Jacob Zuma (File: AFP)

President Jacob Zuma (File: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - Israel's settlements policy is "undermining" prospects for a two state solution, President Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday as he welcomed Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on a state visit.

"We reiterate our call for the total cessation of all settlement activities," Zuma told a joint news conference with Abbas.

South Africa was ready to assist with negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and had appointed two special envoys for the task, Zuma added.

Abbas said the Palestinians sought to benefit from South Africa's "successful experiences" in building an independent state.

"We are the last nation in the world that is still living under occupation," he said.

The ANC is a firm supporter of the Palestinian cause, with politicians regularly comparing Israel to the former racist apartheid state in the country.

The white minority government had co-operative relations with Israel, but when former president Nelson Mandela was elected first democratic president in 1994, he pledged to support Palestine, saying: "South Africa's freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians."

Abbas was greeted with a 21-gun salute at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

He has visited South Africa before - last year he attended Mandela's funeral - but officials said this is his first state visit.

"People of South Africa and Palestine have a strong bond built in the trenches of our two struggles, we want to build even stronger relations and cooperation based on that historical relationship," said Zuma.

Abbas's visit comes days after UN chief Ban Ki-moon urged Israel and the Palestinians to "step back from the brink" and return to peace talks amid European moves toward recognising Palestine.

His comments reflected international alarm over the spate of violent attacks in east Jerusalem and the deadlock over peace talks that are fuelling fear of another flare-up after the war in Gaza earlier this year.

With no political solution in sight, governments and parliaments in Europe are moving towards Palestinian recognition, with France's National Assembly set vote on a non-binding resolution on 2 December.

That follows Sweden's announcement that it will recognise Palestine and non-binding votes in the British and Spanish parliament in favour of recognising Palestinian statehood.

Read more on:    mahmoud abbas  |  jacob zuma  |  israel  |  pretoria  |  palestine  |  middle east peace

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
58 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.