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Cabinet wants ICC to probe Gaza hospital bombing that killed more than 500 Palestinians

People confront security force members as they attempt to reach the Israeli embassy in Amman, Jordan, during a pro-Palestinian protest after hundreds of Palestinians were killed in a blast at Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza.
People confront security force members as they attempt to reach the Israeli embassy in Amman, Jordan, during a pro-Palestinian protest after hundreds of Palestinians were killed in a blast at Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza.
Image: MUATH FREIJ/Reuters

The South African government wants the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the bombing of the Ahli Arab Baptist Hospital, allegedly by Israel, where more than 500 Palestinians perished.

Minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said it had become clear that it was prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israeli government that bombed the Gaza hospital.

She said Israel should take responsibility for the bombing and stop attempting to blame Hamas.

“I think all of us by now have heard that it is coming from the Israeli government and we don’t need to be briefed by anybody, they cannot run away from the responsibility of bombing a site that is protected by international human rights laws,” said Ntshavheni.

Though the South African government is yet to approach the ICC, it has called on the body to investigate the bombing, which it has classed as genocide that borders on a holocaust of Palestinians.

“Israel’s bombing of the Ahli Arab Baptist Hospital that killed well over 500 people and injuring over 1,000 is a war crime, as hospitals are considered a safe haven under international humanitarian law,” she said.

“Cabinet calls on the ICC to investigate the bombing and the crime of genocide in this conflict. The Jewish holocaust is enough of a stain on the history of mankind, for the international community to fold its arms while the Israeli government perpetrates a Palestinian holocaust.”

Cabinet reiterated the ANC’s call for a two-state solution and urged the Israeli government to “stop the bombardment” of civilian establishments, such as hospitals, schools and homes.

According to Ntshavheni, the South African government is ready to play a mediation role in the conflict, should it be called on.

“South Africa will continue to engage with other players, with the Arab league, we will engage with the secretary-general of the UN and the Middle Eastern countries in terms of what role we can play,” she said.

“We remain available and must be ready for that role.”

TimesLIVE

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