West News Wire: According to South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor, “the world has seen enough of the tragedy in Gaza and it is time for countries to use their influence over Israel to put a stop to this real crime against humanity.”
Among the few nations to sever relations with Israel during its assault on the Gaza Strip was South Africa.
As Israel continues to attack Gaza, Pandor warned Al Jazeera on Wednesday that her government might file a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“We are horrified by how this tragedy and atrocity that is taking place keeps becoming worse and worse. I think the world has seen enough, and it is time for the most powerful in the world to put a stop to this horror that Israel is unfolding against the people of Palestine,” she said.
“It is only countries that have influence over Israel who can stop this real crime against humanity that we are seeing right before our eyes.”
As the number of people killed by Israel’s shelling of Gaza keeps rising, South Africa has been vocal about the suffering of Palestinians and has called for the withdrawal of its ambassadors from Israel this month.
Over 11,200 people in Gaza have died, most of them children, according to Palestinian authorities. Israel launched the onslaught on the Gaza Strip in reprisal for an attack by Hamas that resulted in the deaths of nearly 1,200 people, largely civilians.
Although most people criticized the Hamas attack, Israel’s response has come under fire as a series of unrelenting airstrikes have destroyed entire neighborhoods and cut off Gaza’s 2.3 million inhabitants’ access to basic supplies including food, gasoline, and power.
According to UN estimates, over 70% of Gaza’s population has been forced to flee, and there aren’t many places where they can find safety while Israeli bombings pound every part of the Strip, including places where Israel has advised Palestinians to go so they can escape the conflict.
“We would have expected the ICC to respond much sooner, given that thousands of people have been killed,” Pandor remarked. “And these are innocent Palestinians who have been subjected to occupation and harassment for decades.”
She added that there are “very, very clear similarities” between that line of work and some of the activities that characterized South Africa’s apartheid regime.
“We know people cannot own property, [and] that property can be seized without any compensation, which is what we experienced in our own country. People have to carry identity documents that reflect your ethnicity rather than citizenship. All of this is part of the apartheid feature,” Pandor told news reporters.
“So, there can be no denial that the corollary between the conduct of the Israeli state against the people of Palestine is so closely aligned to the apartheid conduct.”