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SA government condemns attacks in Gaza and Jerusalem

A destroyed building in Gaza City, following a series of Israeli airstrikes on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

A destroyed building in Gaza City, following a series of Israeli airstrikes on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

  • South Africa has condemned attacks by Israel on Palestinian civilians.
  • It has asked for an investigation into possible war crimes, and said the case should be referred to the International Criminal Court. 
  • ANC leaders have called on the government to close down Israel’s embassy in Pretoria. 

The South African government has condemned Israel’s “unjust attacks on civilians in Gaza and Jerusalem” and said the atrocities should be investigated and referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as possible crimes against humanity. 

The attacks have targeted Palestinian civilians, and have included children and the elderly.

“South Africa also urges Israel to stop all planned evictions of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrar area,” Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Clayson Monyela said in a statement. 

He added the attacks violated UN resolutions, and South Africa supported a call for intervention by the international community and the ICC.

The recent attacks by Israel have claimed more than 100 lives, mostly Palestinian civilians.

Monyela said the South African government welcomed the fact that Hamas was open to international mediation and to discuss a ceasefire. 

AFP reported there have been daily clashes in the West Bank since Monday when the conflict in Gaza escalated after Hamas fired rockets towards Jerusalem.

South Africa has long called for the revival of a political process in Israel leading to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state that would exist side-by-side with Israel within internationally recognised borders.

These states should also be sovereign and equal, Monyela said.

READ: Israel pounds Gaza to curb Palestinian militants but rockets still fly in day 5 of the conflict

There were calls from within the governing ANC this week for relations with Israel to be terminated. 

ANC MP Mandla Mandela earlier in the week during a protest in Cape Town called on the government to shut down and remove Israel’s embassy in Pretoria. 

He said South Africa should also shut down its embassy in Tel Aviv. 

The head of the ANC Youth League’s national task team, Nonceba Mhlauli, issued similar calls.

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies and SA Zionist Federation called on government to be “even-handed and to condemn rocket fire targeted at Israeli citizens”.

They said: “If government, and indeed all political parties, wish to be part of ending this latest tragic outburst of violence, they must show genuine even-handedness.

“Those who unquestioningly endorse the claims and actions of one side while completely ignoring those of the other do nothing to resolve the conflict. In fact, they only make a bad situation worse.”

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