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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

Source: South Africa
14 June 2007

South African Government Statement on Events in the Middle East

Pretoria - The South African government has expressed deep concern over the continuing violence between the factions of Fatah and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Deputy Minister Pahad stated that the 25 lives lost in armed clashes between the two groups yesterday is highly regrettable and that the infighting will only serve the aims of those forces set on seeing Palestinians fail in creating a unified and peaceful Palestinian state.

This violence is not in the interests of the Palestinian people who seek a Palestinian state based on peace, stability and prosperity.

President Mbeki on 13th June 2007 in Parliament said, "Yesterday, the Hon Themba Godi of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) of Azania ended his intervention with the words: "To our Palestinian brothers and sisters, we humbly counsel: Peace among the Palestinians, War against the enemy!"

I would like to take this opportunity to repeat after the Hon Themba Godi - to our Palestinian brothers and sisters, we humbly counsel: peace among the Palestinians!

As South African patriots, loyal supporters of the noble cause for the recovery of the national rights of the Palestinian people, the security of the state of Israel, and a just and stable peace throughout the Middle East, we cannot accept that the deadly fratricide engulfing occupied Palestine, especially Gaza, is either inevitable or desirable.

25 years ago, in 1982, addressing our own situation, our respected national hero, Oliver Tambo, said, "We have…striven for seven decades to build one, common nationhood, with one destiny. Our shared experience of collective sacrifices in the struggle for a common goal has knit us together as one solid block of liberation. The comradeship that we have formed in the trenches of freedom, transcending the barriers that the enemy sought to create, is a guarantee and a precondition for our victory. But we need still to build on this achievement. All of us - workers, peasants, students, priests, chiefs, traders, teachers, civil servants, poets, writers, men, women and youth, black and white - must take our common destiny in our own hands."

At this hour of great suffering to the people of Palestine, which in essence is no different from the dismal period in our country when enemies of our people, with their collaborators among us, instigated and sustained what was described as black-on-black violence, we would like to convey to our brothers and sisters in the Fatah and Hamas the same message that Oliver Tambo conveyed to the then struggling people of South Africa.

Your shared experience of collective sacrifice in the struggle for a common goal must knit you together as one solid block of liberation. Your comradeship is a guarantee and a precondition for your victory in the struggle for the emergence of an independent State of Palestine.

This victory is not possible on the basis of an internal war for hegemony, fought by the powerless to gain power over the powerless, at great cost to the masses that have placed their hopes in the hands of the leadership of both Fatah and Hamas. The incontrovertible truth is that a just peace with Israel is not possible when Palestine cannot make peace with itself.

Once more we make the heartfelt appeal - those who have ears to hear, let them hear - above the din of the guns, the bombs, the mortar shells, and the angry shouts and the dirges of funeral marches in the desolate streets of the towns and the refugee camps of Gaza and the West Bank!

Let all of us learn from the inspiring African example of the Democratic Republic of Congo that, as the Book of Ecclesiastes says, "To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: …A time to kill, And a time to heal;…A time of war, And a time of peace."

Deputy Minister Pahad strongly urged all Palestinians to immediately respond to President Mbeki's call.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853

Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

14 June 2007

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