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'After Decades Of Oppression, Palestinians In Gaza Now Faced With Genocide': South African President

11.04.2024 17:57

Cyril Ramaphosa addresses Muslims as they celebrate Eid al Fitr holiday, marking end of fasting month of Ramadan.

President Cyril Ramaphosa Thursday wished Muslim communities a blessed Eid, but expressed concern over the ongoing Israeli war on Palestine which has killed nearly 33,500 people in Gaza since Oct. 7, 2023.

"After more than 7 decades of discrimination, oppression and apartheid, the Palestinian people of Gaza are now faced with genocide," Ramaphosa said in a speech to hundreds of Muslims gathered for Eid prayers at a sports ground in Laudium, near the capital Pretoria.

Muslims in South Africa celebrated Eid al-Fitr on Thursday, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Ramaphosa said Muslims in countries affected by conflict such as Yemen, Sudan and Palestine experienced pain and suffering during the holy month as a result of conflicts.

"What is the indiscriminate bombing of civilians from land, sea and air if not an act of genocide?" the South African leader wondered.

Ramaphosa also asked if the forced displacement and deliberate starvation of an entire population was not an act of genocide.

He said in the occupied Palestinian territories and the Gaza Strip, men, women, and children are being driven from their homes, bombed, tortured, starved and killed.

Ramaphosa said Palestinians in the West Bank are faced with displacements as settlements are being forced upon them.

He said his country will not be a bystander to injustice and oppression.

"This week marks 30 years since the Rwandan genocide unfolded before the eyes of the world and little was done to stop the killings of 1 million people. We will not sit back, our arms folded as another genocide is perpetrated in our lifetime. Regardless of the race, ethnicity, religious or political beliefs of the victims," the president added.

ICJ case

South Africa, which has for years condemned Israeli atrocities against Palestinians, filed a case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in late 2023, accusing Israel of failing to uphold its commitments under the 1948 Genocide Convention.

In January, the court ordered Israel to take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance in the Gaza Strip but stopped short of ordering a cease-fire which South Africa had requested.

On March 6, South Africa again approached the court requesting for additional provisional measures based on the change in the situation.

The ICJ indicated new measures since the provisional measures in the earlier order "do not fully address the consequences arising from the changes in the situation."

Around 33,500 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the war began on Oct. 7, last year.

Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the seaside enclave, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

The war has pushed 85% of Gaza's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while much of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed. -

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