"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
Pretoria - The South African government today Wednesday 13 December 2006 expressed its disappointment at the decision by the government of Israel not to grant permission to the mission mandated by the United Nations Human Rights Council led by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to investigate the deaths of the 19 Palestinians in Beit Hanoun in November and called on the government of Israel to reconsider its decision.
The South African government reiterates its opposition to the principle of collective punishment and therefore welcomed the United Nations investigation.
The South African government also reiterates its position that there can be no military solution to political challenges facing Israel and Palestine. We remain convinced that only the establishment of an independent Palestinian State existing side by side with Israel within secure borders will bring about a peaceful resolution to the situation in the Middle East.
The South African government also calls on the international community to act decisively and encourage a return by all parties to the negotiating table to restart the peace process in the region.
Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853
Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152