Maimane defies Zuma and goes to Israel

Mmusi Maimane shakes hands with Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu. Picture: Mtshatshalazisi/Twitter

Mmusi Maimane shakes hands with Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu. Picture: Mtshatshalazisi/Twitter

The DA leader says a ‘two-state solution is still what we must pursue’. The party says the trip is in keeping with encouragements to foster peace.

Leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) Mmusi Maimane embarked on a trip to Israel and Palestine this week.

This despite President Jacob Zuma’s call for South Africans to refrain from travelling to Israel.

Delivering the 105th ANC birthday celebration speech in Orlando Stadium, on January 8, the president said the ANC pledges its ongoing solidarity and support for the “just cause” of the people of Palestine.

He called on the people of Palestine to work together in achieving the goal of “self-determination”, and also said the ANC supports the UN Security Council Resolution 2334 of December 2016.

“The people of Palestine continue to suffer in their rightful quest for self-determination and the ANC pledges its ongoing solidarity and support for their just cause. We reiterate that we firmly discourage travel to Israel for causes not related to fostering peace in the region.”

The DA has told The Citizen that fostering peace is part of what Maimane is in the region to achieve, by saying that they are looking to bring the “two parties together instead of inflaming tensions between them”.

“The ANC repeats our call for all the people of Palestine to work together in achieving the goal of self-determination. We support UN Security Council Resolution 2334 of December 2016.

“The ANC is deeply disturbed by the situation in Syria and we call on the international community to assist the people of Syria to find a peaceful and lasting resolution to the conflict.”

Mere days later, the DA leader sent a tweet on Thursday, saying that he was in Israel and Palestine, and that two-state solution needed to be pursued.

Curiously, he also attached a screenshot of how he was going to be charged more for data roaming costs in Israel than in Palestine.

“Fascinating to be in Israel and Palestine. Two state solution is still what we must pursue. Listening, learning,” said Maimane on Twitter.

Maimane’s spokesperson, Mabine Seabe, told The Citizen the trip to Israel and Palestine was “mainly private and religious”.

Maimane was there to “listen and learn about the conflict and the potential leadership role that South Africa could play”.

Seabe added that, “while there, he [Maimane] has met with Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu and the Leader of the Opposition, Bougie Herzog”.

“A meeting with the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mr Mahmoud Abbas, was scheduled but was cancelled due to a ‘scheduling conflict’, nonetheless the Leader met with Palestinian officials.

“The Leader will also be meeting Palestinian human rights activists, and the senior representatives of the Palestinian and Israeli business community.

“He is here to listen and learn about the conflict and the potential leadership role that South Africa could and should be playing in constructively assisting both parties to resume negotiations.

“This is in keeping with the DA’s commitment to a two-state solution and to South Africa playing a constructive role in bringing the two parties together instead of inflaming tensions between them.

“The Party’s two-state solution position is in line with that of South African Government as well as that of the United Nations.”

The DA’s Tshwane mayor, Solly Msimanga, has faced heavy criticism from the ANC for recently visiting Taiwan. The ANC argued that the mayor’s Taipei visit was in contravention of foreign policy with respect to diplomatic ties with China.

However, Msimanga dismissed these allegations, stating he had gained permission from the department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco).

Dirco could not be reached for comment on the matter.

Also read: Msimanga warns ANC to back off, or else 

The UN Security Council Resolution 2334 of December 2016 “reaffirmed the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice”.

“Condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions,

The Security Council also expressed “grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperilling the viability of the two-State solution”.

Read more about the Security Council’s resolutions here.

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