SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- South Africa has called for a “total cessation” of Israel’s illegal constructions, which “undermine” peace efforts in the region.
President Jacob Zuma made the remarks on Wednesday as he welcomed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for his first state visit to the country at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the South African executive and de facto national capital.
“We reiterate our call for the total cessation of all settlement activities,” Zuma said. “People of South Africa and Palestine have a strong bond built in the trenches of our two struggles. We want to build even stronger relations and cooperation based on that historical relationship.”
South Africa’s former apartheid regime, which cooperated with Tel Aviv, is regularly compared to the Israeli regime by Zuma’s ruling African National Congress.
Anti-apartheid hero and former president Nelson Mandela said once that “South Africa’s freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
Abbas’s visit to the country came at a time when tension was growing between Palestinians and Israel in East al-Quds.
“We are the last nation in the world that is still living under occupation,” said the Palestinian president, adding that Palestine should take advantage from South Africa’s “successful experiences.”
More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.
The UN and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in the 1967 war and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbids construction on the occupied lands.