Mmusi Maimane, the Leader of South Africa's Opposition Party, Visits the Palestinian Authority

Mmusi Maimane, the Leader of South Africa's Opposition Party, Visits the Palestinian Authority
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Donia Al-Watan
The Palestinian Authority was the recipient last week of an outpour of support for Palestinian development in business, education and the on-going process to self-determination. The benefactor being Mr. Mmusi Maimane, the leader of The Democratic Alliance (DA) and opposition leader in South Africa's National Assembly. The background for the abrupt secret visit was to better understand the needs of the Palestinian people, and how the South African opposition party can assist.

Over the last several weeks, the Palestinian Authority has been leading an uncompromising diplomatic campaign, by means of its diplomats and representatives around the world, to preserve the achievements of the Obama administration - especially the latest UN Security Council decision on Israel's policy in the West Bank and its illegal construction within. The Palestinian Authority, like many other Obama supporters around the world, understand that efforts made over the last several weeks by the administration and Secretary of State, John Kerry, could be for naught as the Trump era begins.

One of the first to respond and publicly support the Palestinians right to self-determination was Mr. Mmusi Maimane, South Africa's opposition leader in the National Assembly. Maimane coordinated the undisclosed visit in the Palestinian Authority and led a delegation of Members of Parliament and advisors at the best possible time, from an international perspective, for the Palestinians. Between the visits and talks intended to promote economic development, Maimane and his delegation also made sure to hold meetings to express their support for President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.

The climax of Maimane's visit was his meeting with Palestinian human-rights activists and his discussions of the refugee camps in Palestinian Authority areas, in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon and Syria. Palestinian sources also noted that on January 10th, 2017, Maimane met with Bashar Masri, a Palestinian-American businessman and entrepreneur. The two spoke of community-economic development and commercial initiatives, including the subject of hi-tech to promote the Palestinian nation, and other projects concerning social development. The delegation later held a discussion in the new Palestinian city of Rawabi, and then continued to meetings in Ramallah with leading businessmen, such as Mr. Samir Hulileh, the CEO of Padico Holdings. Mr. Maimane then met with Talal K. Nasereddin, who is the CEO of both Birzeit Pharmaceutical Co. and the Palestinian Telecommunications Company, PalTel.

One of the delegation's main goals was to hold a seminal meeting with the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. However, at the last minute, Abbas' staff announced the meeting will not take place due to scheduling constraints and that the two will set another date to meet in the near future. Maimane had meant to speak with the Palestinian President about the UN decision, the relations between the Palestinian Authority and South Africa, and the commercial possibilities between the two countries. Mr. Maimane said that as the Trump era was about to begin, it was especially important not to sever relations with the government of Israel because this could eventually harm the Palestinian Authority. It was important to maintain lines of communication open with the Israelis, Mr. Maimane said, since it is the most correct, smart and effective course of diplomacy to promote Palestinian interests with the Trump administration.

A senior Palestinian official said yesterday that Palestinian diplomats encouraged the South African leader and his delegation to meet with the Israeli Prime Minister, even if it was only to express harsh criticism of the horrible state of Palestinians in refugee camps and Israeli disregard for what was taking place on the ground. Maimane announced that he will continue to support human rights everywhere in the world, and that his people, who have experienced Apartheid, will continue to lead the struggle for freedom wherever needed.