The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it has not changed its stance on the Israeli-Palestinian question and does not support a biased anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian declaration that was made at a Parliamentary Conference on Palestine on February 7.
Responding to an inquiry from a Gateway News reader about media reports speculating about a possible shift in party policy, the DA says its representative at the Parliamentary Conference, Bill Eloff, “failed to set out the DA’s clear, unequivocal, long-held position, creating the misperception that the DA supported the declaration”.
According to the statement released by Siobhan Muller, DA councillor for ward 83 in the Tshwane Metro, Eloff “will not be returning to Parliament after the elections this year”.
The African Christian Democratic Party was the only political party at the Parliamentary Conference that voted against the anti-Israel ‘Cape Town Declaration’.
The DA statement points out that because of its long-held stance on the Israeli-Palestinian question, DA Portfolion Committee members rejected a 2012 report on a visit to Gaza by ANC parliamentarians, urging a full Committee visit to Israel and Palestine for an objective assessment of the situation.
The statment says the visit took place in 2013 and the DA engaged with all stakeholders and concluded that a lasting solution would only be achieved in a two-state solution in which the State of Israel and an independent Palestinian State would coexist in peace. For this to be achieved the DA believes that all stakeholders must commit to peaceful negotiation towards an agreement acceptable to both Israel and Palestine.
In the DA’s view issues which impede progress towards achieving a two-state solution include expansion of Israeli settlements on the West Bank and Hamas refusal to recognise Israel’s right to exist, as well as an accord amongst the countries of the region to honour any agreement which the Israelis and Palestinians may reach.
The statement says that its view was shared by the Portfolio Committee and contained in a resolution adopted by the Committee and by Parliament.
It says that the ‘Cape Town Declaration’ has no legal standing and will be tabled for scrutiny and discussion by the Portfolion Committee.The DA will reject the Decalaration in its present form.