THE ANC has reaffirmed its support for the people of Palestine, saying they are facing “the most tragic and dangerous situation” and that South Africa stands ready to assist with humanitarian aid.
Speaking on the sidelines of the party’s national executive committee meeting in Boksburg on Saturday, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa said his party has always supported Palestine’s cause for justice.
“We have always made our position clear, we have always been in alliance with the people of Palestine and we support their cause unashamedly. But at the same time, we have also expressed our condolences to the Israelis who have died in this, particularly civilians, because even in our own struggle, the issue of civilians was a clear cut exclusion. So we stand firm on those principles because they are inscribed in international law,” said Ramaphosa.
He said South Africa understood the plight of the Palestinian people as they had been under occupation for 75 years.
“As people and an organisation that has struggled against an oppressive system of apartheid we do pledge solidarity with the Palestinians.”
Ramaphosa said the government has sent condolences to both Israel and Palestine after the deaths of scores of people.
“As the ANC we have always pledged our solidarity with them and always insisted that the only solution for problems in the Middle East, particularly between Israel and Palestine, is a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders as approved by the world community and the UN.”
Ramaphosa added: “The atrocities that are happening now where the residences of people and hospitals in that part of the world are being razed to the floor, pregnant mothers are not even able to give birth in a respectable manner. But the worst part is when the Israeli government now says 1.1 million people must evacuate the northern part of Gaza, having closed all the routes.”
He was referring to Israel’s decision to give 1.1 million Gazans 24 hours to leave northern Gaza and evacuate to the southern region.
“This is the most tragic situation and dangerous situation that the people of Palestine have been exposed to and we have called for the humanitarian corridors to be opened so the food, water and electricity can be made available to the people of Gaza.
“The other concern that we have of course is that this conflict could actually go beyond the borders of Israel and Palestine and engulf the entire Middle East in a conflict that the world least deserves at this point in time. We are faced with many other conflicts on our own continent and other parts of Europe — the Russia-Ukraine conflict is another one that needs to be brought to an end.”
He said the ANC and the government support a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
“We also stand ready to participate on a neutral basis as we always do in various conflicts around the world. Whether the parties involved in the conflict share the same position as us ideologically or not, we have always participated in the ending of conflicts with integrity and with neutrality. We are always ready to also participate in this conflict.”
He said the government would be ready to assist with humanitarian aid. “Already we have received [appeals] from a number of countries, in that part of the world, as the South African government, to assist and send humanitarian assistance and that is being processed in government.
“We have also had to consider the evacuation of South Africans who are in Palestine and Israel, and that too is being considered in government and we will soon be responding to activate a response.”