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SA calls for end to violence and peace in the Middle East

‘Apartheid-Israel will never know peace as long as the land of Palestinians is occupied’

People flee their homes amid Israeli strikes in the southern Gaza Strip
People flee their homes amid Israeli strikes in the southern Gaza Strip
Image: Reuters/Ibraheen Abu Mustafa

The latest outbreak of armed conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas in the Middle East has divided SA political parties, with the ANC and EFF saying Israel was to blame while the Patriotic Alliance labelled Hamas a terrorist group that kills children and defenceless women.

Their comments come after the latest round of war which started on Saturday.

The SA government said the conflict was due to the continued illegal occupation of Palestinian land by Israel's government.

The conflict escalation resulted in international relations minister Naledi Pandor postponing her trip to Palestine.

Speaking to Sowetan on Sunday, international relations spokesperson Clayson Monyela said: “We don't want to send a political principal into a war zone.”

The conflict comes three months after the government laid into the PSL’s Orlando Pirates for playing against Israeli soccer outfit Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Monyela said SA was calling for the immediate cessation of violence, restraint, and peace between Israel and Palestine.

“SA expresses its grave concern over the recent devastating escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The new conflagration has arisen from the continued illegal occupation of Palestine land, continued settlement expansion, desecration of the Al Aqsa mosque and Christian holy sites, and ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people.”

He said SA was working with the international community to ensure sustainable peace that produces “a viable, contiguous Palestinian state, existing side-by-side in peace with Israel, within the 1967 internationally recognised borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

“Violence, killings, imprisonment, forced removals, illegal settlements, and the continued siege of Gaza are not conducive to resolving the conflict. Urgent attention must be given to resolving the final status issues such as borders, the status of Jerusalem, the release of political prisoners, and the right of return."

However, the PA’s deputy secretary-general Meshe Habana said there was no justification for the murder of children or defenceless women whether they be Palestinian or Israeli.

“Only a coward would harm a defenceless woman. Only a monster harms a child,” said Hebana.

He also hit out at the government, saying it was pathetic to only blame Israelis for the violence which was meted out against them by Hamas.

EFF spokesperson Sinawo Thambo said: “The continued expansionist policy of apartheid-Israel state is provocative. The building of settler houses in the land of Palestinian people and further land encroachment is against numerous United National resolutions that apartheid-Israel has flatly defied.

“The annexation of Palestine land and killing of Palestinian children is violent, and violence begets violence.”

Thambo said the people of Palestine have been subjected to violent land dispossessions, bombings and infringements of their rights to free movement and religion.

“As a result, apartheid-Israel will never know peace for as long as the land of Palestinians is occupied, and more of the little remaining is annexed,” he said.

ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri accused Israel of being a “blatant apartheid state that methodically imposes privilege on Jewish Israelis' behalf and discriminates against Palestinians”.

“As a result, the decision by Palestinians to respond to the brutality of the settler Israeli apartheid regime is unsurprising. The ANC stands with the people of occupied Palestine as it is clear that the degenerating security situation is directly linked to the unlawful Israeli occupation,” said Bhengu-Motsiri.


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