Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s president, has vowed to collaborate with the international community to stop Israeli “genocide” against Palestinian people.
He has also called on Israel to end the siege on Gaza and allow a humanitarian corridor in the Strip.
Addressing the African National Congress (ANC) post-national executive committee (NEC) meeting on Monday, Ramaphosa said the governing party is angered by the Zionist state’s indiscriminate shelling and blockade of the Gaza Strip.
He said the ANC will push for a two-state solution because it is the only way to end the cycle of violence and retribution that has lasted 75 years.
Ramaphosa said his party also condemned Hamas’ brutal killing of civilians when it ambushed Israel and fired a barrage of rockets from Gaza on October 7.
“The ANC NEC has condemned, in strongest terms, the brutal killing of civilians by Hamas. The ANC has also been perturbed by the genocidal and atrocious activities of the State of Israel, which are being directed indiscriminately at Palestinian citizens, shutting them off from all means of livelihood,” Ramaphosa said.
“As the governing party, the ANC will ensure that the South African government works with the international community towards an inclusive process that produces a viable Palestinian state, existing in peace alongside the state of Israel, based on the 1967 borders. The NEC is firmly of the view that the only way to end the cycle of violence and retribution that has lasted 75 years is a just and peaceful settlement.”
Over 3000 Palestinians have died since the latest Israel-Palestine war broke out on October 7 after Hamas’ unprecedented attacks on Israel. The militant group’s fighters crossed the border into Southern Israel and killed at least 1300 people, including more than 300 soldiers. The group held 299 Israeli civilians hostage.
Israel responded by bombarding the enclave and cutting off water, electricity and fuel. On Tuesday, the war escalated when Israeli missiles hit the Al Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza, killing more than 500 Palestinians and injuring thousands of others who sought shelter at the facility.
Another missile hit a United Nations (UN) run school, killing several people. The hospital attack threatened to cost Israel the moral high ground and turn the Zionist state from victim to aggressor in the latest round of the war.
While conveying condolences to the families who lost loved ones on both sides, Ramaphosa also called for an immediate ceasefire and a return to dialogue along the two-state solution framework. The two-state solution refers to the United Nations resolution to establish a peaceful Palestinian state with Israel.
However, he restated that the ANC stands in solidarity with Palestine.
“The NEC reaffirms the longstanding support for and solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine and calls for an end to the occupation of Palestine, which is against UN resolutions. The state of Israel should immediately end the siege on Gaza so that water, food, energy, medical supplies and fuel can reach the civilians,” he said.
The ANC and the Palestinian Liberation Authority (PLO) have deep-rooted historical ties dating back to their liberation struggles in the 1960s. The PLO supported ANC leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo.
The Israeli-Hamas war threatened to escalate into a full-blown regional war after another front opened on the Israeli-Lebanon border, with Iranian-backed Hezbollah exchanging fire with Israeli forces. This sparked fears that the war would escalate amid diplomatic efforts between U.S and Arab leaders to ease tensions.
US President Joe Biden was expected to visit Israel on Wednesday after his Secretary of State Antony Blinken took a diplomatic tour of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel within days to rally support for Israel.
The Biden administration also put 2 000 soldiers on deployment alert. Moreover, the U.S sent two aircraft carriers to the eastern Mediterranean Sea to deter other “state and non-state actors” from taking advantage and attacking Israel.
In response to the Gaza hospital bombing, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas withdrew from a meeting with Biden in Jordan late on Tuesday. The deadly hospital air strike forced Jordan King Abdullah to cancel the meeting, saying the timing was unsuitable for any gathering between Biden and Arab leaders.
The Arab Ambassadors to the UN condemned the Israeli bombardment and demanded action against Israeli “criminals who committed the massacre” by bombing the Gaza hospital.
One of the ambassadors told the same media briefing at the UN that they rejected Israel’s claim that a Palestinian Jihadist group is responsible for the hospital. He said it was a “lie”.
Another ambassador called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Israeli “war crimes” and stop allowing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to operate above international law. China called on Israel to halt the Gaza bombardment, saying its response has exceeded self-defence levels.
On October 13, Palestinian Ambassador to South Africa Hanan Jarrar told the media in Pretoria that no peace would exist in the Middle East unless Israel treated Palestinians as lesser human beings with no rights.
“We demand the immediate cessation of Israel’s illegal, colonial occupation and its discriminatory, apartheid practices against the Palestinian people. We stand in full support of all international initiatives that aim to establish a political framework that secures the rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination and guarantees the sovereignty of a viable Palestinian state. This is a crucial step towards achieving a lasting and secure peace in the region,” Jarrar said.