The Palestinian government and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) have condemned a proposed visit by South African MP Kenneth Meshoe to Isreal.
The Middle East sovereign state lambasted the proposed visit after it came to light that Meshoe planned to visit illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied State of Palestine as part of an upcoming conference organised by the ‘Israel Allies Foundation’ in co-ordination with the Israeli government.
It is understood that the conference was scheduled to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Liberation and Unification of Jerusalem.
Speaking further in a letter addressed to the South African government, the secretary-general of the PLO and a member of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Saeb Erekat, beseeched the government to remind SA MPs of SA’s “positions and commitments with respect to Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, which positions and commitments are in accordance with international law.”
Erakat said the visit violates South Africa’s policy towards the Israeli occupation; adding that the Palestinian government frowned at the conference because “the event will celebrate and seemingly legitimise the presence of illegal settlers.”
Although Meshoe is yet to react to this development, a spokesperson of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), Keeno Petersen, told reporters that Kenneth Meshoe – who doubles as the party’s president would be in Israel this week.
The insider, however, denied knowing the purpose of Meshoe’s visitation to the Middle Eastern region.
Meanwhile, Israel’s ambassador to South Africa and the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (DIRCO) are yet to comment on the matter.
The anniversary of the Liberation and Unification of Jerusalem, commonly known as Jerusalem Day is an Israeli national holiday. The jubilee day celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City after the June 1967 Six-Day War.
The minor religious holiday is not widely celebrated outside Isreal. However, state ceremonies and memorial services like parades and prayers are extensively carried out by Israeli community.