Ramaphosa defends ties with Israel

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.

EK Vramarnet 2014-08-27 04:28:42 PM
Pity. The countries who boycotted SA during the heydays of apartheid should have adopted the same stance.
Makaveli Makaveli 2014-08-27 04:29:37 PM
Do these guys read there history. It gets me worried about this. Do you know that historically this land belongs to Israelites. I think that's why the ANC employed someone with fake degrees because of reading in between lines. If Israel is equally compared to apartheid then it mean apartheid was right.
Enig Ma 2014-08-27 04:32:02 PM
At last some ANC statement which is not straightaway utter bullshyt. Somewhere inbetween bullshyte and sense. We have to maintain ties with Israel since this is our best chance at preventing an Islamic State in the Levant . These Hashemites endeavour an Islamic State, and history has proven that all Islamic States practise oppression worse than any apartheid, much worse than the self imposed apartheid of Gaza. We must help prevent apartheid states by supporting civilised, secular, socially advanced States like Israel. Arabs in Israel enjoy much more freedom than hamas allows gazans to enjoy. In fact, muslims enjoy more freedom in Israel than in any Islamic State in the modern world.
Xolani Ndimba 2014-08-27 04:34:20 PM
We must applaud both parties for all their efforts to seek peaceful means to end the impasse. We mustn't choose sides. That helps no body
Nin Ja Kitty 2014-08-27 04:35:07 PM
Just where is the middle east - Benoni? What the hell are they sticking their noses in the middle east for. They can't even sort out a rumble in parly and now they are experts on solving a 4000 year war. Oh give me strength.
Bradly Minnaar 2014-08-27 04:36:42 PM
Why isnt this dude the president? Jacob is like his stupid little brother or something.
Themba Wase Kasi 2014-08-27 04:37:59 PM
Mandela is turning in his grave
David Jones 2014-08-27 04:47:43 PM
Worrying! An Israeli officer in Golan Height has been hit by a "stray" bullet from Syrian ISIS rebels and not so long ago an Israeli vehicle was also damaged by mortar fire that came from the rebels. Looks like another war is looming from another front.
Sipho Simon Mogale 2014-08-27 04:52:08 PM
Good answer as for EFF they must continue to make fun of JZ only
Louis van Zyl 2014-08-27 04:57:54 PM
When a burglar enters your home and fires a gun at you, are you supposed to lie down and die? Since when is man not allowed to defend himself? Why is the aggressor the victim?