South Africa has strongly condemned the Israeli aggression on the Gaza strip which has so far claimed the lives of 32 Palestinians, predominantly civilians, and injure more than 210 others.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) said it is concerned that Israeli military statements indicate that the operation would “take a long time” and that the ongoing aggression continues to place innocent civilians at severe risk.
“Attacks that kill innocent civilians have no justification, and they are more abhorrent as they are committed by an occupying power which has besieged the Gaza Strip for over a decade in contravention of international law,” said DIRCO.
Pretoria also said as an occupying power, Israel has specific obligations in terms of international human rights and humanitarian law, which it continues to breach without being held accountable.
“The international community has an obligation to ensure that international law is not violated indiscriminately and to urgently stop the Israeli occupation forces repeated attacks against civilians, especially women and children as well as the illegal blockade in Gaza,’’ it said.
It added that the killing of children by the Israeli government must be urgently addressed.
“The UN Secretary-General’s report on Children in Armed Conflict states that there has been an alarming increase in grave violations against children, particularly the significant rise in the killing and maiming of children in the Occupied Palestinian Territory by Israeli forces during hostilities, air strikes on densely populated areas and the use of live ammunition during law enforcement operations,’’ it added.