Happy 2017! I hope you have all emerged from the festive season feeling relaxed, renewed and ready to tackle the challenges that lie ahead. For us at the DA, 2017 is a year to build on our gains of 2016 and prove beyond doubt that in government we are a party that delivers to all.
It is also a year to look outward and fight harder than ever to promote liberal democracy and the protection of individual human rights worldwide. SA should play a leading role in foreign policy issues but for years we have aligned ourselves with despots and human rights abusers around the world. We have squandered a wonderful opportunity to show the world what value South Africa can add.
South Africa has unique experience in the world as one of the only countries that has found a negotiated, peaceful solution to a seemingly intractable conflict. We can harness it to play a proactive, constructive leadership role in opening communication channels between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, to help bring them together to negotiate a peaceful solution and an end to conflict. This is why a DA delegation visited Israel and Palestine earlier this month.
Diplomacy cannot be based on propaganda or historical alliances of government. It must be rooted in the present and based on facts. To hear both sides of a story is not only a legal and moral principle, it is also a practical necessity. If you really want to know what is going on, do what Helen Suzman did and go see for yourself. This is exactly what we did. We went to Israel and Palestine to…