South Africa 8.11.2017 07:00 am

SA-Israel ‘inter-ministerial meeting’ raises ire of ANC

Minister Edna Molewa. (Photo: GCIS)

Minister Edna Molewa. (Photo: GCIS)

The ANC has demanded answers from its own subcommittee on international relations after it held a meeting with an Israeli government delegation in Pretoria yesterday.

The meeting seems to have baffled both experts and the party.

Israeli Minister of Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi took to Twitter yesterday to post a picture of himself, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa and Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, announcing that for the first time in five years, an “inter-ministerial meeting” took place between the Israeli and South African governments.

As it turned out, the South African ministers were meeting the Israeli government as ANC
members, led by Molewa. Also at the meeting was former housing minister Tokyo Sexwale.

But the Israeli government seems to have construed the meeting to be official government business.
ANC government spokesperson Zizi Kodwa was not impressed upon learning about the meeting and said the party had contacted the trio for answers.

“We will await a report from the international relations subcommittee about how it could be that a subcommittee of the ANC has meetings with the Israeli government in view of the resolutions of the ANC about Israel.

“We have got a very clear resolution about our relationship with them in both government and the party.”

It noted that the meeting followed “a series of Israeli MPs visiting South Africa”, with the last one
taking place in August. In January, the ANC expressed its disdain after DA leaders, including Mmusi Maimane and Solly Msimanga, visited Israel and met Israeli government officials.

Last year, department of international relations and cooperation director-general Jerry Matjila
came under fire when he met his Israeli counterpart, Dr Dore Gold, in Pretoria.

The department had said at the time that the two would work together on local policy issues.
Israeli Ambassador Lior Keinan said of the recent meeting:

“Israel and South Africa have a lot to discuss. We look forward to more dialogue and more South
African involvement in the Middle East.”

But he also told The Citizen the Israeli government had discussed with ANC leaders possibletrade relations agreements, including prospects arising from South Africa’s nuclear build programme.

Pro-Palestine activist Celine Valley said he was appalled that ANC members would go against the South African resolution, which left little leeway for contact between the two governments in light of the ongoing conflict between Palestinians and Israel.

“It’s the height of hypocrisy and its akin to making arrangements with the apartheid regime,” he said.

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