Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News - 04-04-2019
Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane says he met with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian Authority when he visited Israel.
Maimane visited Radio Islam studios on Wednesday while on the election campaign trail in Lenasia.
The DA leader met Netanyahu in 2017 in what the party described as a private and religious visit to Israel and Palestine.
Maimane has come under fire for taking a photo with Netanyahu, especially from the Muslim community who see the DA as a party that has not taken a clear stance on the Palestinian issue.
Maimane had asked for a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, but was told it was cancelled due to a scheduling conflict and instead met with other Palestinian officials.
Maimane says he addressed the Palestinian issue with Netanyahu.
“I challenged Mr. Netanyahu, you can speak to his office. I said to him ‘what are you doing with this Palestinian situation and are you dealing with a two state solution and how you are advancing it.’ As much as I did the same for the Palestinian Authority my principled position remains true, I am the only leader in this country still standing up for a two state solution. We may disagree, but that’s the South African position, that’s the position we must advance.”
Maimane also commented on his tweet in which President Cyril Ramaphosa was seen shaking hands with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.
He says media freedom must be defended.
“I want media freedom, I could not be bothered what side of the fence you sit on. It is a value we must hold, all of us must uphold. I bet you if I sat here with the Palestinian Authority, they would stand up for the fact the journalists ought not to be killed. I don’t think anyone is standing up saying ‘journalists must be killed’. It would be wrong if Israel did it, if would be wrong if MBS did it, if would be wrong if any leader was doing it.”
Maimane says if the opportunity presented itself, he would meet with Muhammad bin Salman and challenge the same issues.
Watch the interview with Mmusi Maimane at Radio Islam studios in Lenasia