11 July 2014
Statement on the escalating violence in Israel and Palestine
The South African Government notes with growing concern the escalation of violence between Israel and Palestinian territories.
Of greater concern is the endless wanton killing of Palestinian civilians, especially the vulnerable groups - old men, women and children and the destruction of property. Israeli bombardments have led to the destruction of homes in Gaza and innocent civilians being killed in these air strikes.
We are also concerned about the increasing number of rockets targeted at Israeli cities - with some reaching as far north as Haifa putting innocent civilians at risk. The threatened ground invasion of the Gaza Strip will certainly throw the situation completely out of control.
We do not agree that the cruel incidents of the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli boys and the subsequent kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian boy in Jerusalem be used as grounds to escalate the violence. Furthermore, these unfortunate incidents should not be used, from whatever quarter, to cast aspersions on the legitimate existence of the Unity Government in Palestine, whose advent was welcomed by the whole of peace-loving mankind.
We strongly urge all sides to refrain from responding to violence with violence and to exercise restraint, including a halt to the arbitrary arrest of Palestinian civilians and the use of collective punishment on Palestinians. The lasting solution to the Middle East problem lies in serious and genuine negotiations involving all parties.
Enquiries: Mr. Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
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