Staff Writer

THE Government says Namibia will not sever its diplomatic ties with Israel.

Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation (Mirco) reacted to crticisms by Namibia University of Science and Technology Director of International Relations, Marius Kudumo, of the Government’s stance towards Israel and Palestine.

In a statement on Mondau, Mirco Executive Director, Penda Naanda, says Namibia’s policy of “being friends to all and enemy of none” does not create a moral and political dilemma in the execution of Namibia’s international relations policy. Naanda adds that Kudumo’s claim on NBC news on Sunday that the ministry was contradicting its policy by taking what Israel is doing as good in relation to what Palestine is doing is erroneous. “That statement is misleading and a misrepresentation of facts. Namibia’s enemies continue to be poverty, unemployment, and disease such as the HIV, malaria, TB and the current Covid-19 pandemic,” Naanda says.

He adds that Israel is not an enemy of Namibia, and cannot be treated as such. Namibia and Israel established diplomatic relations in 1994 at a time Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, and PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) Leader, Yasser Arafat, showed willingness to solve the 100-year-old conflict in the Middle East, and Namibia aimed to encourage that effort, he clarifies.

Naanda says Namibia is committed to the Middle East peace process, for a lasting settlement of the Palestinian issue. “The focus should be on a peaceful negotiation within the framework of UN resolutions. The establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, existing side by side with Israel, is the only way to achieve lasting peace and security in the Middle East,” the statement reads.

Naanda says the hope for peace between Israel and Palestine was shattered when the process that began with the Oslo Accord of 1993, ended with the last negotiations at Taba in Egypt in 2001. “In the many careful negotiated agreements since then, there were positive development as well as a number of setbacks,” he says.

Despite its relations with Israel, Namibia will not abandon the principle of self-determination, and as such will continue to support the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people against the Israeli occupation, and the expansion of illegal Jewish settlement at all multilateral fora, albeit Naanda.