Madam Chairperson, the response to the question by hon Mncwango is that South Africa, in her practice of international relations, advocates for the settlement of conflict through peaceful means, including entering into genuine negotiations.
South Africa has recognised the state of Palestine since 1995, and it supports the Palestinian cause to establish a viable and territorial Palestine state, existing side by side in peace with the state of Israel at a bilateral level. South Africa has continuously used her influence to leverage in the multilateral fora to advocate the recognition of Palestine's right to self-determination.
Over the past 20 years South Africa has undertaken a number of efforts aimed at supporting Palestine towards the achievement of a two state solution. These include the following bodies. Firstly, at a multilateral level, there is particularly the UN Group of 77, G77 and the Non-aligned Movement, Nam; as well as the African Union, AU; Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, Brics; and the India-Brazil- South Africa Dialogue Forum, Ibsa.
Secondly, South Africa supports and lobbies for the independence and self- determination of Palestine. In this respect, it calls for serious and genuine negotiations that would result in a just resolution of Palestinian and Israeli conflicts.
Thirdly, as you would know, the President appointed former Minister Zola Skweyiya and former Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad as his special envoys to convey his message of concern with regard to the escalating violence to the people of Palestine.
Fourthly, South Africa has also contributed by pledging US$1 million for humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza following the 50-day war between Israel and Palestine in 2014.
Finally, through the Ibsa partnership programme, South Africa has partly funded the construction of social development infrastructure projects in Palestine. In this regard, three such projects were initiated, namely the Ramallah Indoor Sports Complex that was officially inaugurated in October 2011; the Red Crescent Al Quds Hospital in Gaza, launched in 2012; and the People with Disabilities Project in the city of Nablus. On 22 August 2012, the South African Cabinet approved government Notice 379, pertaining to the correct labelling of Israeli goods produced in Palestine's occupied territories. Thank you, Chair.