... that the struggle for human rights, democracy, self determination, freedom and independence, are to be intensified. This Parliament will be part of the frontline forces for change.
The portfolio committee undertook an extensive inquiry into the Israeli- Palestinian conflict - its history, causes and complexities, the occupation and its consequences, the bid for statehood - and, indeed, it sought ways of making an active contribution to the search for a comprehensive, just, peaceful and lasting solution.
In undertaking this enquiry, we held a number of meetings, a symposium involving both Israeli and Palestinian ambassadors, and a wider range of civil society organisations, lobbies, religious and trade union groups, and many more activists across a wide section of the South African population.
We further undertook an earlier study visit to the besieged and occupied territory of Gaza through Egypt and later the West Bank and Israel. We were regrettably refused entry into Gaza from Israel by the Israeli authorities. Nonetheless, we were able to meet with a wide array of players in that area.
In compiling our report and recommendations to the House - which I must point out the ACDP has objected to - the committee noted that its inquiry took place against the backdrop of more than two decades of failed negotiations. Its outcome has fallen short of meeting the minimum requirements for self-determination and statehood for the Palestinian people who have, up to now, lived under the ever tightening yoke of a ceaseless and illegal occupation that has stripped them of their human rights and dignity.
The committee consequently recalled that the liberation struggle in South Africa enjoyed the support of the international community and the Palestinian people, in particular, as it mirrored their own experiences of subjugation, colonialism, exclusion and dispossession. South Africa's support for the Palestinian cause is from a principled position born out of our own experiences and indeed our vision for the creation of a better South Africa, a better Africa and a better world.
We recognised that support for human rights freedom, democracy, peace, justice and equality is a historical and constitutional obligation bestowed upon South Africa and future generations. We believe that the aspirations of the Palestinian people cannot be denied any longer and that the current negotiations must, as an outcome, resolve the fundamental grievance of the Palestinian people.
We believe that the settlement of the occupied Palestinian territories is illegal and a violation of international law, and poses a real threat to the current negotiations. The latest decision of the Israeli government to continue with settlement construction is counter-productive as it creates new facts on the ground and undermines the creation of a Palestinian state.
We recalled and reaffirmed the previous House's resolutions supporting a two-state solution. We recalled President Mandela's statement that "our own freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians". We recalled and reaffirmed President Zuma's statement when he said: "We stand with the people of Palestine as they strive to turn a new leaf in their struggle."
Consequently, the committee then recommended the following to the House: to intensify solidarity efforts supporting a just, peaceful and lasting solution, including the strengthening of a sovereign Palestinian state, which will help to bring peace between the conflicting parties; to become a leading part of a worldwide movement, including civil society; to support the struggle and campaigns led by the Palestinian people; to mobilise all sections of the South African population to utilise our experience in reconciliation; to help foster unity among Palestinian people through interparliamentary co-operation; to continue to support the efforts of our government to encourage an inclusive peaceful process of a negotiated settlement between the concerned parties; and to lead efforts to strengthen and co-ordinate interparliamentary Palestinian solidarity efforts and indeed support all efforts to engage with all parties in Israel and Palestine, to find a just, lasting and peaceful settlement of the Palestinian question and bring peace to the Middle East. Thank you so much. [Applause.]
There was no debate.