Petition to the SA Government to cease efforts to sever ties with State of Israel

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Dear Friends of Israel,

Petition to the South African Government to cease efforts to sever ties with State of Israel and to reinstate the SA Ambassador to Israel.

We, the undersigned, as representatives and members of civil society, political parties, religious institutions, schools, and student groups from all corners of South Africa, hereby declare our support for continued relations between Israel and South Africa, and urge all South Africans to demand that the South African Government cease in its efforts to sever ties with the State of Israel and to reinstate the SA Ambassador to Israel.

There are various interest groups including Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, the Arab League and organisations such as the BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement) that have aggressively lobbied the SA Government to adopt the position of severing ties, while practically none of them table any credible solution other than the call for the annihilation of the State of Israel.

The actions adopted by the SA Government are patently flawed for many reasons and do not serve the interests of the South African population. Such a move will be contrary to South African foreign policy which has always called for engagement with all parties to a conflict. This has been the consistent stance of  the South African Government in all conflicts in Africa and beyond, for the last 24 years.

We note further that efforts to downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel will have a deeply negative impact on the South African Christian community (around 44 million Christians) who make up the vast majority of pilgrims to the Holy Land. Such a move will likely precipitate a souring of relations with a corresponding response from Israel.

A direct consequence of such a change in diplomatic relations with Israel will in addition violate South Africans’ constitutional rights with regards to freedom of movement, free choice and matters of faith.

Additional implications of the severing of ties includes the economic impact of job losses, travel and tourism, and trade and investments, all of which will have a direct effect on South Africa and its people.

We believe that South Africa has a moral obligation to support a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to distance itself from a radicalised position on Israel, which position simply undermines any hope of a negotiated process and peaceful outcome.

We therefore demand that the SA Government cease in its efforts to cut ties with the state of Israel and further call to reinstate the SA Ambassador to Israel.