South Africa: Israeli Defence Force must withdraw from the Gaza Strip

0
36
Israel Palestine
“South Africa’s view is that the Israeli Defence Force must withdraw from the Gaza Strip and bring to an end the violent and destructive incursions into Palestinian territories” said the International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

The minister condemned “in the strongest terms possible” the latest violence in Gaza which she labelled as “violent aggression”.

Minister Sisulu said the use of lethal force by the Israeli Defence Force against Palestinian men, women and children on the Gaza Strip was “unacceptable.”

The South African government on Monday announced its recall for its ambassador Sisa Ngombane with immediate effect following Israel’s deadly attack in the Gaza strip.

Briefing the media ahead of her Budget Vote, Minister Sisulu said they had to “think carefully (about) the action (they) are taking in Israel” and as such, they consulted President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinians who were protesting against the provocative inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem. This latest attack has resulted in many as 58 people reported to have been shot dead, including six children, and more than 2 700 have been injured after being fired on with live ammunition by Israeli snipers.

On learning about the attack, Minister Sisulu called her US counterpart Mike Pompeo.

“My request to him was to ask if there is a possibility, can they consider putting the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem on hold. His response to me was he was unable to because it was a decision that has been fixed by the US government. So what we are seeing now was the possible reparations that the US government has taken.”

The Minister reiterated that South Africa’s view is that the Israeli Defence Force must withdraw from the Gaza Strip and bring to an end the violent and destructive incursions into Palestinian territories.

“We were informed that the people of Palestine were preparing for more marches today. We hope that we can persuade the Israeli Defence Force to be a little more cautious.

“It is possible for them to protect themselves if they wish with any other means but deadly means, which they used yesterday. It is unacceptable and we join the rest of the world in condemning this.”

The Minister was of the view that the violence in the Gaza Strip will stand in the way of rebuilding Palestinian institutions and infrastructure.

The routine actions of the Israeli armed forces present yet another obstacle to a permanent resolution to the conflict, which must come in the form of two states, Palestine and Israel, existing side-by-side and in peace.

With regards to the downgrading of the SA embassy in Tel Aviv as per ANC resolution, the Minister said they have not yet worked out modalities of downgrading it.

The decision taken at the ANC’s National Conference in December was for Dirco to downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel to a liaison office.

Meanwhile the opposition party, Democratic Alliance (DA) has criticized the South African government’s move to downgrade it embassy in Israel.