While condemning what it described as “the cowardly attack by Hamas that killed and injured innocent people”, the Cabinet yesterday said it equally slammed “the heinous opportunism of the Israeli government to use Hamas’ cowardice in continuing its genocide against the people of Palestine”.
This, as the ANC is today staging a demonstration outside the Israeli embassy in Pretoria, in protest against the continued retaliatory rocket launch attacks by Israel on the Gaza Strip, which have left thousands dead and many injured.
Addressing a post-Cabinet media briefing in Pretoria, Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said: “Many violations of international law have been committed by all sides and Cabinet calls for accountability and justice in response to all those crimes.
“Cabinet calls on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the bombing and the crime of genocide in this conflict.”
“It also calls on the international community not to allow the perpetration of another holocaust,” said Ntshavheni.
She said the Jewish holocaust was “enough stain in the history of mankind, for the international community to fold its arms while the Israeli government perpetrate a Palestinian holocaust.
“Cabinet believes the international community must be seized with finding a permanent security solution for the people of Israel and Palestine, through the settlement of the two-state solution – founded on the 1947 borders,” she said.
“Cabinet calls on the Israeli government to stop the bombardment of civilian establishments, such as hospitals, schools, homes and for the opening of humanitarian corridors to allow the passage of aid – including food and medical supplies to the Gaza Strip.
“Failure to act by both the ICC and the United Nations will be a demonstration of the total collapse of a rules-based multilateral system,” said Ntshavheni.
Writing in the Daily Maverick, honorary professor of International Relations at Wits University, John Stremlau, made a strong case why South Africa should be afforded the opportunity to mediate in the Middle East conflict.
“At a time when the US and much of Europe identify as supporters of the national security and self-determination of Israel, South Africa’s embrace of similar goals for the people of Palestine may provide a moral and diplomatic counterpoint, should any peace process unfold,” said Stremlau.
“Can there be peace between Palestine and Israel with the prospect of greater justice among and between their diverse people?”
“Might South Africa contribute to making this aspiration a sustainable political reality?”
SA remained “appropriately partisan”
He said as an advocate of a peace process, acceptable to all stakeholders, South Africa remained “appropriately partisan”.
“Following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, or Belfast Agreement, between a British-backed government and the Irish Republican Army, a potential deal breaker was how to monitor the disarmament agreement,” he said.
“The toughest aspect was recruiting someone acceptable to the terrorists and the oppressor.
“President Cyril Ramaphosa was the IRA’s (Irish Republican Army) choice because of his role in ending apartheid and because he was acceptable to the British.
“His partner in this critical exercise was former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari.”