“It is only through negotiation and a settlement, supported by the international community, that the people of Israel can get the security they are looking for and the people of Palestine receive the freedom they deserve.”
This according to pres. Cyril Ramaphosa who spoke at the Cairo Peace Summit in Egypt on Saturday about the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Ramaphosa at the invitation of Pres. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi attended the summit.
Ramaphosa argued that in the end peace breeds peace and that not only Israel and Palestine should strive for this, but also the international community.
“We call on all parties to exercise self-control and for all state actors to stop supplying weapons to any side of the conflict,” he said.
“The international community has a responsibility and a duty to support peace and to create favorable conditions for negotiation and dialogue.”
The American president, Joe Biden, granted a security package of $14 billion to Israel on Friday. The White House said the additional funding would ensure necessary security assistance to Israel, support Israeli efforts for the release of hostages and provide humanitarian aid to civilians affected by the war in Israel and Gaza.
On Thursday evening, Biden drew a direct connection between the Palestinian militant group Hamas’s attack on Israel and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, apparently to convince Americans that the US must show global leadership.
‘Peace through equality’
Ramaphosa said in his speech that the attack on civilians in Israel, the siege of Gaza and the indiscriminate use of force through bombing violate international rights.
“Moreover, it is an insult to humanity.”
Nevertheless, “we as South Africans can identify with what is happening to Palestine”, he argued.
“Our people fought a brave and courageous battle to achieve their freedom and were subjected to unprecedented suffering just like what the Palestinians are going through.
“The nightmare of apartheid was only brought to an end by the relentless struggle of our people and the courage and foresight of leaders who put aside their differences and sought peace rather than revenge.”
However, Ramaphosa is concerned that both sides will not lay down their arms so quickly and that the Israeli government’s response to the attacks on its citizens will further deepen the conflict and make lasting peace even more difficult.
“We are also concerned that this conflict could spread to other countries in the region. It must be avoided at all costs.”
He believes the only way to achieve peace is to allow the “legitimate pursuit of human rights and dignity by the Palestinian people”.
According to Ramaphosa, this is in accordance with the decisions taken by the United Nations (UN) which guarantee states for Israel and Palestine based on the 1967 borders.