Parliamentarians urged to support peace in Israeli-Palestine conflict – Speaker

Mapisa-Nqakula says it is only through dialogue, negotiation, and respect for human rights that true peace can be achieved

Speaker of the National Assembly calls on Parliamentarians to support peace in Israeli-Palestine conflict

25 October 2023

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, made a clarion call to all parliamentarians to work together to support a just and lasting peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has claimed the lives of thousands of people, including innocent children.

The Speaker addressed the General Assembly of the 147th Session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) themed, “Parliamentary action for peace, justice, and strong institutions”, currently underway in Luanda, Angola.

The IPU consists of parliamentarians from around the world.

The Speaker said that it is only through dialogue, negotiation, and respect for human rights that true peace and stability can be achieved.

Speaker Mapisa-Nqakula urged the legislators to take concrete action and implement the United Nations resolution for a just, comprehensive, and peaceful two-state solution between Israel and Palestine. She said South Africa stands ready to contribute its expertise in mediation and conflict resolution, drawing from its experience not just on the African continent but around the world.

She said that the words of the founding father of democracy in South Africa, Former President Nelson Mandela remain true and relevant when he said, “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

The Speaker was also happy that the motion that was proposed by Algeria and Kuwait on behalf of the Arab Group, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic), and South Africa on behalf of the Africa Group in the agenda of the 147th Assembly entitled “Stopping the war and violations of human rights in Gaza”, was submitted for consideration in the plenary, however, it could not secure a two-thirds majority that is required for a motion to be debated. According to the IPU Assembly Rule, 11.2 (a) a request for inclusion as an emergency item must receive a two-thirds majority of the votes cast in order to be accepted.

The Speaker further expressed her gratitude and appreciation to the outgoing president of the IPU, Mr Duarte Pacheco, a Member of Parliament in Portugal. Mr Pacheco’s three-year term comes to an end on the last day of the Assembly with the election of the new President. So far, four female candidates, all from Africa, have indicated their availability for the position.

She thanked him for his exemplary leadership and steadfast guidance in navigating the unprecedented conflict challenges that face the global community. She commended him for his leadership in appointing two African-Geopolitical Group members as members of the IPU Task Force team on the Ukraine/Russia conflict.

The IPU Task Force was appointed in April 2022 to undertake direct engagements with the parliaments of Ukraine and Russia to help achieve a complete ceasefire. The team was to contribute to confidence-building measures that would achieve a long-term cessation of hostilities and the organisation of humanitarian assistance.

Regarding the significance of the debate, the Speaker said it echoed the sentiments of the African Union’s campaign of “Silencing the Guns”. She said Africa faces a multitude of challenges, including conflicts that have pushed millions of people into poverty, eroding progress made in poverty reduction. She hoped that the debate would cast a spotlight on Africa’s plight compelling the international community to prioritise and address the root causes of this.

Today's programme includes the plenary session of the Assembly, Standing Committee on United Nations Affairs, the meeting of the Task Force on the War in Ukraine, and the Standing Committee on Sustainable Development.

Issued by Moloto Mothapo, Media Officer, Parliament, 25 October 2023