South African President Jacob Zuma (R) receives Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas (L) on November 26, 2014 at the Union Buildings in Pretoria for the leader’s first official visit to South Africa. AFP PHOTO/STEFAN HEUNIS
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Israel is defying the world by "undermining" prospects for a two-state solution through its settlements policy, South African President Jacob Zuma said Wednesday as he welcomed visiting Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.South Africa was ready to assist with negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and had appointed two special envoys for the task, Zuma added.Abbas said the Palestinians sought to benefit from South Africa's "successful experiences" in building an independent state. Zuma's ruling African National Congress is a firm supporter of the Palestinian cause, with politicians regularly comparing Israel to the former racist apartheid state in South Africa.Abbas also said he supports Israeli members of parliament who oppose the plan to formalize Israel's status as a Jewish state.Abbas said, speaking through a translator.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is promoting a bill to have the country's constitution declare it a Jewish state.Abbas concludes his visit Friday.
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