Iqbal Jassat                       
Chairman,
Media Review Network
Cell: 083 594 3749
E-mail: mrn_ij@telkomsa.net

Moulana Ighsaan Hendriks
President of the Muslim Judicial Council
Cape Town
South Africa
Cell: 083 384 6973
E-mail: mediadesk@mjc.org.za

Mr. President

We do not wish to remind you that South Africa is a sovereign state and its security services should not be held to ransom by any foreign government.

We address this open letter to you based on the possibility that you may be meeting Shimon Peres, President of Israel, during your visit to Davos, Switzerland, next week.

We are aware that he is keen to discuss the problem of issuing diplomatic passports to agents of Shin Bet, the Israeli internal security agency, who would be operating from Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport.

We are also aware that if this matter is not resolved, Israel has threatened to withdraw the services of its national airline carrier, El Al, from operating between Johannesburg and Tel Aviv.   The Media Review Network accepts that security issues are not only independent but interdependent. However we respectfully draw your attention to the fact that the security of our borders, citizens and key national installations such as OR Tambo International Airport  remain the sole responsibility of our law enforcement agencies. To abdicate this responsibility will be an unfortunate indictment on the ability of our authorities to provide such a service. Moreover if we allow special concessions to foreign security agents whereby they enjoy special privileges at the expense of our hard won sovereignty and independence could easily lead to the erosion of our civil liberties.We therefore urge you, Mr. President  not to succumb to any  pressures that are accompanied by threats of withdrawal from El Al airlines. Our self respect, dignity, integrity and independence must remain paramount.