Nam welcomes move to boycott Israeli products

2014-08-07 00:00

A MEETING of the Non-Aligned Movement, which was attended by International Relations and Co-operation Deputy Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo, has come out in support of a boycott of Israel and a withdrawal of ambassadors.

In a strongly worded declaration following the emergency meeting in Tehran, the Non-Aligned Movement’s (Nam) ministerial committee on Palestine said it welcomed “all initiatives undertaken by several countries to boycott Israeli products and withdraw their ambassadors from Israel, including by many Latin American countries, and encouraged all member states of Nam to do so”.

The ministers “strongly condemned the lethal, indiscriminate and excessive use of force by Israel, the occupying power, against Palestinian civilians and vital civilian infrastructure”, according to the declaration, released via the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco).

The ministers also expressed support for the Algerian initiative “to convene an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly to address the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and mobilise the international community in this regard”.

Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela said minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane would only be in a position to comment after being briefed by Mfeketo on her return to South Africa. Mfeketo was accompanied by President Jacob Zuma’s special envoys to the Middle East, Zola Skweyiya and Aziz Pahad.

Approached for comment, Israeli ambassador Arthur Lenk said that Zuma represented the official view of the ANC and of the country, and he had not given any backing for such calls. “There is a ceasefire now, and Israel is working for it to hold so that the demilitarisation can begin, and the lives of Israeli and Palestinian citizens can improve,” said Lenk.

Attending a U.S.-Africa Leaders summit in Washington this week, Zuma repeated calls for a peaceful solution to the conflict, and volunteered South Africa’s help in finding a resolution.

The government has resisted mounting pressure from within the ANC and its alliance partners for stronger action against Israel in response to the military attacks and loss of lives in Gaza. South Africa is a member of the Committee on Palestine, together with Algeria, Bangladesh, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Palestine, Senegal, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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