It is the sixth day after the deadly surprise attack on Israel by Hamas militants and the conflict continues. Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa is now asking on behalf of South Africa that humanitarian corridors in the region be opened immediately and unconditionally.
On Wednesday, Ramaphosa appealed to Hamas, the Islamic movement that controls the Gaza Strip, as well as to Israel to show restraint and stop the violence.
Ramaphosa says his government is extremely concerned about the atrocities committed against civilians in Israel and Palestine since Saturday.
“It is essential that all those in need of urgent humanitarian assistance are provided with the basic means of sustaining life and that human suffering is alleviated.
“Our thoughts are with all the victims’ families and loved ones during this dangerous time.”
Ramaphosa also encourages the international community to support the process towards lasting peace that will ensure a viable Palestinian state that exists in peace with Israel, within the 1967 internationally recognized borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
“South Africa stands ready to work with the international community and to share our experience of mediation and conflict resolution, as we have done on the continent and globally.”
Rockets are still raining down
Israel continued attacks on Gaza on Thursday after Hamas launched the unprecedented attack on Israel on Saturday.
Hamas militants, in turn, fired more rockets (this time at Tel Aviv) in response to Israeli airstrikes on two refugee camps in Gaza. The Palestinian group says Israel is now specifically targeting civilians.
“The occupation (Israeli forces) carried out massacres in the Al-Shati and Jabalia refugee camps this morning, leaving numerous martyrs and injured,” Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman Iyad al-Buzum told AFP. .
The United Nations (UN) said by late Wednesday evening that Israel had already forced more than 338,000 people to flee their homes in the enclave with its retaliatory campaign.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his centrist political rival Benny Gantz announced on Wednesday afternoon that they had agreed on an emergency unity government.
Netanyahu said he would halt his controversial judicial reforms that have divided Israel for now. However, his far-right and ultra-Orthodox Jewish allies will remain in power.
According to the Israeli army, 169 Israeli soldiers have already been killed in the fighting and the bodies of 1,500 Islamist militants have been found in recaptured areas.