Trump's Jerusalem move tantamount to throwing a 'grenade' at Palestinian people - ANC

2017-12-08 20:09
ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte. (City Press)

ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte. (City Press)

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Johannesburg – The ANC says US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city has added pressure to the ANC’s own talks about that country’s ongoing conflict with Palestine.

The ANC, which is gathering party members for its upcoming 54th National Conference, said it would have to discuss paths towards a peaceful solution and how to continue assisting the people of Palestine, who are seeking a two-state resolution.

Speaking to journalists from her office at the ANC’s headquarters in Johannesburg, deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte said there was already a draft resolution on the matter, which would be presented at the ANC’s conference.

READ: Mandla Mandela: Trump's declaration on Jerusalem an 'act of aggression'

She said it consisted of two proposals: the first being to downgrade South Africa’s representation in Israel and the second to completely cut diplomatic ties.

"If we had been given an opportunity where we were more resolute, without this added pressure, we might have found ourselves looking at the repercussions of our decisions, consequences and looking at everything that involves peace making," said Duarte.

She said the ANC’s interest in Palestine was to be a partner in seeking a peaceful solution to the conflict.

"What he [Trump] has done is hardened the attitudes of the ANC," continued Duarte.

'Deep repercussions in the Arab world'

Trump’s decision has received widespread criticism, with the European Union also taking a stand against it. Duarte said no one had publicly come out in support of the US president’s decision.

"For the first time in many decades the world is almost at one on this issue, and that this matter will have very deep repercussions in the Arab world and in the Middle East," she said.

Duarte said Trump's "sinister" announcement was wrong in terms of international law and went against UN resolutions, which had agreed on Jerusalem being a joint city for all the people in that region.

READ: EFF slams 'reactionary' Trump over Jerusalem decision

"If you are handing it over to the state of Israel, which purports to support only one religious perspective, it does create the view that the US is putting its finger on the weight of one side of an argument," she said.

She added that the ANC believed that the US was throwing a "hand grenade right into the midst of the Palestinian people", which would result in a lot of violence, and many deaths, before further talks could even be considered.

Duarte - who said she personally expected flak from different quarters, including the Jewish Board of Deputies - said the matter was not about religion, but human rights and the pursuit of the Palestinian nation towards self-determination.

No contradiction on Morocco

Duarte also moved to provide clarity on some of the confusion which had been created by news of President Jacob Zuma's meeting with Moroccan King Mohammed VI last month.

Ties between the two countries came to an end in 2004 when South Africa gave diplomatic recognition to the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, but the two leaders recently met following Morocco’s readmission into the African Union. Some have viewed the move as a departure, by Zuma, from ANC policies, but Duarte denied this.

"SA is a member of the AU and we serve in the peace and security council of the AU, play a very dominant leadership role. It is important that, when a new member is admitted, that we also try to understand how best to have relations with that new member," she said, explaining the reason behind the meeting.

Duarte said there was no contradiction in telling the king of Morocco that, although his country had been readmitted into the AU, the issue of Western Sahara still needed to be resolved.

"The issue of the Saharawi people’s call for self-determination has to be dealt with. We cannot go another 50 years with people not knowing where their lives were going to be the next day," she said.

Duarte said it was important to have dialogue with Morocco and to make it understand the ANC’s position doesn’t mean it is against the Moroccan people.

Read more on:    anc  |  donald trump  |  us  |  palestine  |  israel  |  politics

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