Ramaphosa defends ties with Israel

2014-08-27 16:21
Cyril Ramaphosa (Sapa)

Cyril Ramaphosa (Sapa)

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

Cape Town - South Africa will lose its leverage to mediate in the Middle East if it heeds calls to sever ties with Israel, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.

Ramaphosa, answering questions in the National Council of Provinces, rejected a suggestion by Economic Freedom Fighters MP Leigh-Ann Mathys that it was unconscionable to maintain diplomatic ties with "an apartheid state".

"The government of South Africa has communicated its unequivocal and strongest condemnation of Israeli against Palestinians in Gaza to the government of the state of Israel, and we have done this through a number of measures.

But he added: "Maintaining diplomatic relations with Israel allows our country to continue to engage with Israel on issues of mutual interest, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

He said it enabled President Jacob Zuma to dispatch two special envoys, former minister Zola Skweyiya and deputy minister Aziz Pahad, to the Middle East for talks with both sides to the conflict.

He added that they managed to "make South Africa's voice heard very clearly".

"This we would not have been able to do if we had curtailed diplomatic relations with the state of Israel. We chose to remain engaged with the state of Israel because it is often best when you want to solve problems to remain engaged so that can have some leverage."

He said it allowed South Africa to maintain its presence in Ramallah.

Ramaphosa reiterated that only a negotiated settlement would provide a lasting resolution to the conflict, and hoped the ceasefire agreement reached on Tuesday would pave the way for such a deal.

Read more on:    cyril ramaphosa  |  palestine  |  israel

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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

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


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.


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.