Speech on the decision of question on draft resolution calling on government to close the Israeli Embassy in South Africa and suspend all diplomatic relations with Israel
Speech by ACDP MP, Steve Swart

Issued by the ACDP Parliamentary Media Office

South Africa needs to be part of the Israel/Palestine solution as peacemakers

Nov 21, 2023

House Chair, we learn in Scripture that “blessed be the peacemakers, for they will be sons of God.”

By this amendment, I firmly believe that we are losing the opportunity as South Africa to be honest brokers in the situation, and as we now speak, Israel and Hamas have said that a truce and captive release deal is closer than ever, and this has been facilitated by third party countries.

South Africa could play that role but by this amendment, we are basically … and yes, should it pass as a motion, it is a call upon the government and government will then take its decision separately …

But, I would urge government and the ANC to really consider what the Minister of DIRCO herself said four months into the Russian/Ukraine war. She said the International Community must focus on finding a sustainable solution. That has been South Africa’s position on Israel and Palestine continually. The Minister emphasised that a solution will not be found in isolating one party or trying to bring a party to its knees. Yet, this is exactly what this amended motion seeks to do.

Thankfully, Minister Pandor, in response to a written question filed yesterday, stated that the breaking off of diplomatic ties with Israel would be unlikely and counterproductive (that is from the Executive’s position).

Surely ANC Members of Parliament can realise that it is not in the best interest to pursue this motion as amended, because the outcome for United Nations facilitating negotiations … yes, it sounds wonderful but it’s going to take time. It’s been taking years, and we need to be part of that solution as peacemakers.

The Israeli Ambassador was already recalled by Israel today. It is so important for us to understand the consequences of this decision, and the consequences of being influenced. That’s why Arab countries around Israel have not broken off ties, because they want to have the influence. The only country to break off ties with Israel is Bolivia. South Africa has never before broken diplomatic ties with Israel that I can recall.

I want to address the tens of millions of Christians who love Israel and the Holy Land. A decision to break off diplomatic ties is unprecedented and it will make it very difficult to visit the Holy Land.

Am Yisrael Chai. The ACDP will not support this amended motion.

I thank you.

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