The South African government has welcomed the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 condemning the continued illegal settlement activities of Israel in the Palestinian West Bank. The resolution condemns “all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition‚ character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967‚ including East Jerusalem”.
Commenting on the adoption of the landmark resolution‚ Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said: “This decision by the Security Council is long overdue and emphasises the illegal nature of activities undertaken by the Government of Israel that include the building of settlement‚ the confiscation of land‚ the demolition of Palestinian property and the displacement of Palestinians.”
She said illegal Israeli settlements continued unabated and had led to a fragmentation of the West Bank and continued to threaten the feasibility of a contiguous Palestinian state.
Consequently‚ the adoption of Resolution 2334 was a significant development because the resolution not only stressed the urgent need for the cessation of the settlement activities as essential to salvage what was left of the two-State solution‚ but also emphasised once again in the strongest terms that the Security Council would not recognise any changes to the internationally agreed lines of 4 June 1967 as the basis of a negotiated settlement. Nkoana-Mashabane added that as a member state of the UN‚ Israel was obliged under Article 25 of the Charter‚ to comply with the decisions of the Security Council.
South Africa urged Israel to adhere to all its obligations under international law.
Nkoana-Mashabane said it was the view of the South African government that the continued settlement activities in fact undermined Israel’s immediate and long-term security prospects and contributed to the radicalisation of the region.
She described the resolution as a “landmark decision”‚ saying it was the first time since January 2009 that the Security Council had been able to adopt a decision on the Middle East peace process. The previous attempt to condemn Israel’s settlement in February 2011 failed due to the veto of the United States.
As a member of the Security Council at the time‚ South Africa emphasised that “the Council has an obligation to ensure that the peace process moves forward and that the Council should respond to obstacles‚ such as the illegal settlement activity‚ which hampers the peace process‚ and thus poses a threat to international peace and security”.
“We trust that this Resolution is the beginning of a new phase of active engagement of the Security Council in the Peace Process.
“South Africa reiterates its call for all efforts to kick-start the stalled negotiations and to do so in a balanced manner that will urge the parties to start engaging in the final status issues.
“South Africa remains committed to providing both sides with support needed to achieve a lasting resolution of the Question of Palestine based on all relevant UN resolutions and within the framework of international law‚” Nkoana-Mashabane said.[Source: Times Live]