Statement by the SADC Ministerial Committee of the Organ (MCO) on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation on the situation in Gaza, Palestinian Territory, 26 July 2014

The SADC Ministerial Committee of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation (MCO) meeting in Swakopmund, Namibia, noted with grave concern the blatant and disproportionate attacks against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, by the State of Israel which has resulted in the deaths and suffering of defenseless Palestinian civilians, mostly women, children and the elderly.

The SADC MCO supports the resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council on 23 July 2014, which, inter alia, called for an independent investigation into the unwarranted atrocities committed by the Israeli forces against the civilian population of Gaza which may be in violation of humanitarian law and international law principles. The SADC MCO condemns the indiscriminate Israeli bombardment from land, air and sea and the killing of hundreds of innocent civilians.

The SADC MCO further condemns the deliberate and systematic targeting and willful destruction of hospitals, schools, mosques, houses and other critical civilian infrastructures.

The SADC MCO therefore calls for an immediate ceasefire and for the Government of Israel and the Hamas to engage in a monitored dialogue. The Government of Israel and the Hamas are further urged to cooperate with the United Nations Secretary General and others, in their efforts to facilitate a ceasefire and to allow for unfettered humanitarian assistance to reach the wounded and all those in need.

The SADC MCO reaffirms the SADC peoples’ unflinching solidarity with the Palestinian people in their quest to realize their right to self-determination and an independent state of their own, living in peace, side-by-side, with the state of Israel.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, 082 884 5974.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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