Johannesburg - The Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba says that the Anglican resolution declaring Israel an apartheid state was made because they could no longer ignore the realities on the ground.
Makgoba said that they are not opposed to the Jewish people but to the policies of Israeli governments, which are becoming ever more extreme.
“For Christians, the Holy Land is the place where Jesus was born, nurtured, crucified, and raised. Our hearts ache for our Christian brothers and sisters in Palestine, whose numbers include Anglicans but are rapidly declining. People of all faiths in South Africa have both a deep understanding of what it is to live under oppression as well as experience of how to confront and overcome unjust rule by peaceful means,” said Makgoba.
He said that when black South Africans who have lived under apartheid visit Israel, the parallels to apartheid are impossible to ignore.
“If we stand by and keep quiet, we will be complicit in the continuing oppression of the Palestinians."
"If we are to celebrate peace for Palestinians and security for Israelis in our time, we need to pray and work for the land we call holy, for an end to the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, and for full recognition of the Palestinians' inalienable right to self-determination,” added Makgoba.
He said he yearned for peace and the wholeness of God to be made manifest in Palestine, in Israel, and among their neighbouring countries.
Meanwhile at the United Nations, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, said that ongoing settlement activity by Israeli authorities has advanced plans for 6,300 housing units in Area C and approximately 3,580 housing units in East Jerusalem, pointing to the Israeli Government’s administrative actions that likely expedited settlement expansion.
“In a continuing trend, many Palestinians, including children, left their communities, citing violence by settlers and shrinking grazing land,” he said.
Representative of the Chinese government, Geng Shuang, said that while 2023 marks the 31st anniversary of the Oslo I Accord, the occupied Palestinian territory remains mired in conflict and turmoil.
He called for higher priority to be given to the question of Palestine on the international agenda, also voicing out State of Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas’ call on the United Nations to convene an international peace conference and for the Security Council to send a visiting mission to Palestine and Israel in due course.
Russian representative Vassily Nebenza said that the ongoing explosive situation is a direct result of aggressive Israeli abuses of the occupied Palestinian territories, the legalisation of settlement outposts, and the violation of the status quo of the holy sites of Jerusalem.
“The increase in violence against Palestinian minors and the demolition of educational institutions, including those built with donor funds, are of particular concern,” he said.
The United States Linda Thomas Greenfield, expressed deep concern over the situation in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza and called on all parties to refrain from actions and rhetoric that further inflame the tensions.