Cape Town – Amid the ongoing deadly conflict in Gaza, International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor asserts that the delivery of humanitarian aid to those affected by the bombings is being obstructed.
The conflict, which has been ongoing for 10 days, began with Israel’s retaliation to an attack by Hamas on October 7.
More than one million people have been displaced in the region due to sustained Israeli bombardment and warnings of a potential ground attack against Hamas commanders.
The bombings have resulted in the death of over 2,300 people, including many ordinary Palestinians.
According to The Citizen, Pandor emphasised the urgent need for humanitarian aid in the area, including medical equipment and supplies.
However, she said that Israel is preventing aid from reaching Gaza and is even attacking humanitarian aid transport.
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“The bombing of residences with residents still in occupation, hospitals bombed, schools bombed, water denied. How do you deny people, at a time when it is extremely hot, deny them water, and stop hospitals dealing with injured people from having water.
“We had hoped we could ask South Africans to voluntarily send some aid to Palestine, medical equipment and medical good, and we were hoping that we could transport those through the Egyptian Rafah crossing,” the report quoted Pandor as saying on 702.
The minister asserted that the aid was stranded in Egypt.
“We now learn, that Israel is preventing any aid from getting through and is actually attacking humanitarian aid transport. This is absolutely shocking and there really can be no defence for such conduct.
She characterised this as a breach of humanitarian and international human rights law, suggesting that it constitutes a war crime and should be pursued by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“It is a total breach of humanitarian law and international human rights law and I am hoping that we are going to put forward a case to the ICC (International Criminal Court), all of us as humanity, as this constitutes a war crime and should be pursued by the ICC,” Pandor said.
She also expressed concern over the loss of lives in the Israel-Hamas conflict and acknowledged the long-standing struggles faced by Palestinians in Gaza.
According to EWN, Pandor emphasised the need to address the denial of Palestinian human rights as a crucial step towards achieving a peaceful resolution.
“We recognise the desperation that leads to actions of this nature, having been a people who have experienced oppression and denial of freedom, and who had to engage in a struggle to obtain freedom from oppression,” the report quoted her as saying.
She added: “In order to have a two-state solution, there would have to be a reversal of the occupation. I think it’s important to state that there should be an implementation of standing United Nations resolutions on this matter. We believe there should be a two-state solution.”
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Compiled by Betha Madhomu