NEWS & ANALYSIS

Trump condemned for recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital – COSATU

Federation says US President's decision violates International Law

COSATU strongly condemns US President Donald Trump for formally recognising the city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital

7 December 2017

The Congress of South African Trade Unions strongly condemns the reckless and provocative decision by USA President Donald Trump to formally recognise the city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. This outrageous decision is further proof of the level of deterioration of the Trump Administration and the American political system as a whole.

Donald Trump’s decision also violates International Law and should be opposed by all peace loving people. In 1980  Israel passed the “Jerusalem Law” stating that Jerusalem complete and united , is the capital of Israel, thereby formalising its annexation of East Jerusalem.  The same year the UN agreed that the annexation of territory by force is inadmissible. In terms of Resolution 478 (1980) the UN ordered that all Member States accept this decision ; and that those states that have established diplomatic missions in Jerusalem withdraw such missions from the Holy City as they constituted a threat to peace and security.

This decision represents a nail in the coffin to any prospects of a peaceful settlement of the Israeli –Palestine situation and will also act to inflame religious tensions because Jerusalem is a sacred place for Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The Americans have lost the little that was left of its moral standing because this decision will embolden the apartheid state of Israel to continue with its backward and barbaric policies against Palestinians. Palestinians are still subjected to merciless blockades by the Israeli army and still suffer from widespread land and property dispossessions.

We offer our unwavering solidarity and support to the people of Palestine, who were first betrayed by the British colonisers hundreds years ago, when they signed over their land to the Zionists to create the apartheid state of Israel, through the so called Balfour Declaration.

COSATU calls on all right thinking people, countries and organizations to denounce this reckless decision and support the struggle for the people of Palestine.  It is also troubling to note that this decision by the Americans happens at a time when there are question marks about the South African government’s commitment to the struggle for Free Palestine. The recent questionable and regrettable decisions by the ANC in relation to the Israel government should be clarified and rectified by the 54th Conference of the ANC.

They are not in line with bold and unequivocal statement in support of the Palestinians adopted by the 53rd National Conference. In its last conference, the ANC reiterated its commitment to its founding values of a struggle for a humane, just, equitable, democratic, and free world. It resolved to support the Palestinians in their quest for freedom and self-determination.

This is also a betrayal of the commitment made by the Minister of International Relations, Cde Maite Nkoana-Mashabne when addressing the International Relations Committee (IRC) meeting of COSATU, where she said that: "Ministers of South Africa do not visit Israel currently...our Palestinian friends have asked us in formal meetings to not engage with the [Israeli] regime. We have agreed to slow down and curtail senior leadership contact with that regime until things begin to look better".

COSATU reaffirms its solidarity with the people of Palestine and we are calling for an end to the evictions of the Palestinians. We are fully behind the call for all political prisoners and detainees to be released immediately. We support the formation of an independent Palestinian state with East-Jerusalem as its capital and also the Israelis must affirm the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.

People of all stripes or political affiliation have a moral responsibility to condemn the apartheid practices and policies of the Israeli government and join efforts to force it to uphold the international law that condemns racial oppression.

Issued by Sizwe Pamla, National Spokesperson, COSATU, 7 December 2017