Cii News | 06 Muharram 1436/20 October 2015

Khaled Meshaal, leader of Palestinian Movement – Hamas and fellow comrades, were invited and hosted by the South African governing party, the African National Congress (ANC) for a working visit starting Monday 19 October 2015.

Hamas is a Resistance Movement, which legitimately oversees Palestinian interests in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza strip and has the support of the Palestinian people since its conception in 1987, after the First Intifada.

Elected fairly by its people, the movement Hamas is an acronym for, Harakat al-Muqāwama al-Islāmiyya, meaning ‘Islamic Resistance Movement’. The name ‘Hamas’ is also derived from the Arabic language meaning “zeal” which is associated with ‘strength and bravery’.

The significance of this invitation to South Africa; emphasizes the ANC’s concerns and alignment with expressing solidarity with the people of Palestine on the issues of the illegal occupation of Israel.

As are the sentiments of the anti-apartheid supporters in South Africa, the Media Review Network, welcomed Khaled Meshaal in their public statement, conveying that, “The African National Congress – led Government, must be commended for their courage in inviting you, in the face of strong opposition by the anti-Palestinian lobby in South Africa.

This visit to our shores has been long overdue. Notwithstanding the lapse of time, we are pleased that your visit comes at a crucial time in the history of your freedom struggle.”

Party to party discussions were held between Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal and President Jacob Zuma.

In his media address, Meshaal said that he explained to the ANC the overlooked and unheard details of the indiscriminate killings and violence perpetrated by the Israeli regime, and the recent attacks on the Al Aqsa compound, situated in East Jerusalem.

“We signed a letter of intent with leadership of ANC where we put all efforts to fight the Israeli regime.”

The ruling party is in talks with Hamas on whether an office should be opened in South Africa, to assist in discussions on a resolution for the Palestinian people and the Israelis.

Since October this year, 46 youths were martyred in Palestine, and according to Hamas statistics, 600 000 illegal Israeli settlers reside in Jerusalem and the West Bank. With the third Intifada underway, Hamas believes that there is way to disengage the oppressive regime. With help from the ANC, and their accomplishment in ending apartheid, Hamas believes the ANC will be able to assist their goal.

“We call on all the Palestinian organisations to come together to discuss a common strategy. We are ready to work towards reconciliation and ending the Palestinian division,” disclosed Meshaal.

“We call on brothers in Palestine (Fatah) to come together to meet to discuss common strategy. We call on Mahmoud Abbas to work with us to take our people from occupation to freedom. We are ready to meet with the leadership of PLO to discuss a unified strategy that will lead us to freedom.”

A world call has been made by Hamas; to prosecute Israeli leaders for their war crimes and to be held accountable by the ICC. The call, encourages the boycott of Israel and supporting the efforts through the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement.

Hamas aims to end the 9 year siege and to reconstruct the infrastructure and development of Gaza.

“Jerusalem is our right, it is our capital. Masjid Aqsa is our mosque and we will defend it.”

“Hamas is committed to all forms of resistance including armed resistance against the Israeli occupation. We are against all forms of extremism. And the Israeli occupation is the worst of extremism.”

Gwede Mantashe, Secretary General of the ANC affirmed the ruling party’s solidarity with people of Palestine as the ANC, urging unity. The more united Palestinians will be the more they will succeed in their objectives.”

ANC statement on the visit by Hamas to South Africa

The African National Congress believes it is befitting that a country that was subjected to an inhuman system of apartheid should register its rejection of a similar treatment meted to other people anywhere in the world.

Our invitation of Hamas as one of the principal players in the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is in keeping with our policies of working towards a peaceful world. There are those who think that by ignoring any of the players it will bring the region closer to a peaceful solution. Our experience in South Africa was that the process of negotiations involved all players irrespective of their views and beliefs. The inclusive process allowed every participant to own and be bound by the outcome.

We believe that, our experience can assist conflict resolutions elsewhere in the world without us dictating to any party. We find it difficult that some quarters in our country turn a blind eye to the aggression and violence by the state of Israel that borders on terrorism, judging from the indiscriminate collective punishment of the Palestinians.

We are encouraged by the receptiveness of Hamas of our views which we have shared with President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) of the Palestinian Authority and leader of Fatah when he visited the ANC much earlier.

The ANC remains committed to a two states solution as a pivot on which the co-existence of Jews and Palestinians can be guaranteed. We have noted comments by the President of the Zionist Federation, Mr Avrom Krengel. His comments are void of proper understanding of the agreement of intent signed by both parties that contextualizes our agreement with Hamas. We do welcome their intention to engage the ANC on the matter as it will benefit their understanding of what underpinned the ANC/Hamas engagement.