In a powerful statement, South Africa’s Minister of International Relations, Naledi Pandor, condemned the alleged war crimes in Palestine, drawing parallels to the nation’s own struggle under Apartheid. She expressed concern over the targeting of civilians and infrastructure, labeling Israel’s actions as “collective punishment.” Pandor emphasized the global horror at these offenses, urging effective action to save Palestinian lives.
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The criticism escalated earlier when Pandor accused Israel of engaging in collective punishment during a press briefing. The government’s response included the withdrawal of its diplomatic mission from Tel Aviv and the contemplation of expelling the Israeli Ambassador, Eli Belotserkovsky. South Africa’s Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, described the ongoing Gaza bombing campaign as “genocide in the making.”
The South African Foreign Ministry, vocal about its disapproval of Israel’s stance on the Middle East peace process and disregard for international law, declared the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza as genocide. This stance reflects South Africa’s reluctance to normalize relations with Israel.
Not stopping at condemnation, South Africa proposed a multi-point peace plan during a National Assembly statement. The plan included an immediate ceasefire, the opening of a humanitarian corridor, the release of civilian hostages, deployment of a UN rapid deployment force to Palestinian areas, and the establishment of a Nuclear Weapons Free-zone in the Middle East.
The International Relations Minister criticized the International Criminal Court (ICC) for its perceived lack of balance in addressing conflicts. While calling for ICC intervention, she pointed out the institution’s quick response to the Ukraine-Russia conflict compared to its silence on Israel’s breaches of international law.
President Cyril Ramaphosa echoed these sentiments, drawing parallels between the Palestinian struggle and South Africa’s fight against apartheid. He pledged solidarity with the Palestinians and advocated for a two-state solution. In a symbolic gesture of support, Ramaphosa led a 60-party delegation of Palestinian supporters a week after the Hamas incursion into Southern Israel.
South Africa’s bold stance reflects a commitment to human rights and international law, calling for accountability and a just resolution to the ongoing conflict in Palestine.