Cape Town-140726-Memebrs of the ANC along with various clergy and muslims, Imams and Palestinian supporters protested against the violence and murders in Gaza in front of Provincial Legislature tday. In pic, Fransman greets the protesters before going into parliament-Reporter-Warda Meyer-Photographer-Tracey Adams

Cape Town - The issue of Palestine and the fighting in Gaza dominated discussions in the Western Cape provincial legislature on Thursday, with the ANC trying to force Western Cape Premier Helen Zille to denounce Israel as a state that practised apartheid.

But Zille hit back saying: “This House has absolutely no jurisdiction over foreign affairs in any way whatsoever… Our position is quite clear, the statement that’s been made by the president (Jacob Zuma) and the department of foreign affairs, we have supported.”

But leader of the opposition Marius Fransman would not let Zille off the hook that easily and asked if she agreed that the attack by the Israeli state on Palestine was an issue of genocide.

Zille responded: “Neither President Zuma nor the department of International Relations has used any such words in any of their statements. This demonstrates how deeply divided the ANC is on this matter.”

Zille reiterated that the DA supported the statements, adding that they “don’t believe in selective outrage”.

Fransman in a follow-up question asked Zille if she supported the call by civil society for an immediate halt to attacks in Gaza.

Zille said they had already called for a cessation of hostilities on all sides.

But her “on all sides” comment irked ANC members who interjected with snide remarks. Zille said if Fransman did not agree he was clearly differing from what the president had said. She wanted to know why the ANC was not pushing their own leaders to say things they wanted the DA to say concerning Palestine.

ANC MPL Siyazi Tyamtyam asked Zille about her relationship with London-based billionaire Nathan Kirsh, who he claimed played an important role in the elimination of the Palestinians. Earlier media reports said Kirsh’s company was awarded 80 percent of the tenders by the Israeli ministry of defence for the installation of detection systems.

Zille said the question was “outrageous and libellous” and the issue was completely “irrelevant to the house” or her duties.

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Cape Argus